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Chapter 3: Pride and humbleness
“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”
Luna settled in her room, which thankfully she was allowed to decorate to her liking without any restrains from Mrs. Scamander. She thought she would start working on it as soon as she unpacked her things and she would be done by the time dinner would be served. Mrs. Scamander left her all by herself, despite the pending rules that Luna needed to be informed on. Apparently, her grandson’s appetite was a far more pressing matter at that time and, instead, common sense would have to make up for the lack of instructions. It hardly made a difference if constraints were being imposed to Luna, because she was such a simple girl who never required anything but the basics, and furthermore she seldom bothered to ask for help or assistance.
She had come to this house to learn, and that day she had decided that nothing would keep her away from her goals. She wouldn’t be staying up late in town partying, or enjoying casual dates with men, nor would she stray from her duties… she wouldn’t let anything interfere with her plans.
She reached for her trunk and fondly drew out every piece of clothing, every item and every little thing that had made a difference in her life. There was a pair of jeans that she had worn on the DA’s first meeting – one that she never wore now because it was old, but she kept it in her drawer because it reminded her of the good days – some blouses that she had bought with Ginny, the bracelet that Hermione had bestowed her with for her seventeenth birthday and some other things that too many might have appeared usual, but for Luna, they were very much meaningful.
In times when she would dearly miss her friends, she would open her closet and would feel like a part of them had never left her side. She would wear those jeans – that barely fitted her – and she would again recall the determinacy in Hermione’s eyes as she spoke up about the importance of having a proper teacher, Harry’s shyness and slight uneasiness as he saw himself surrounded by some beamy expecting eyes and her own obstinacy at proving that, indeed, he was worthy of training them.
And then she would put the radish-like earrings on and would feel like her old self again: dreamy, utterly misunderstood by the rest of people surrounding her, yet as refreshing as ever for her friends.
This trunk had her whole life in it and not just in clothes and jewelries and that golden galleon, which Hermione had enchanted to communicate with the other members of their little bohemian army. She had notebooks, tons of them, in which she had written notes, thoughts of her own, memories and first impressions.
She had kept those diaries since her mother had died. Those blank pages, which she had later filled with her neat handwriting, had been her friends and loyal companions from the very day that she had become an orphan. Later on, as the years had gone by and she had tied some strong bonds of friendship, the diaries had become merely a silent confidant of her happiness. She had shared everything there, happiness and gloominess, hope and disillusion… she had cried and smiled within the faded lines of her childhood’s imaginings; she had loved and hated, she had lived and dreamed, she had witnessed deaths and had learnt to move on. It was Luna, all the way through it.
She had always carried them with her, for they were such an important asset to her life and now that she was starting a brand new one, it had felt almost mandatory to pack them. She dragged the many notebooks out of the trunk and neatly arranged them in chronological order in a multicoloured round box that she had noticed on the bureau. She placed it in her closet, along with her clothes and smiled to herself as she realized that even if she was miles away from her birth place and friends, they were with her and her former life would not abandon her just that easily. She would wake up every morning, starting from tomorrow, and she would open the closet and cast aside the fear of a new beginning, because the tokens of her past would accompany her in this long search for maturity.
She was still Luna Lovegood and that thought soothed her, because all throughout the war she had feared that she would lose herself in the end, as many had. She had witnessed George’s sudden change after having parted with his identical sibling. A part of him had died that night alongside Fred and, for many months, Luna had wondered if one day she would wake up and realize that she was different as well. She had been brave all throughout the war and particularly in the last year, hoping that their little resistance would make a difference in Hogwarts, yet changing had been afterwards, in a way, more frightening than Voldemort himself.
She had feared that the pain and sorrow would take its toll on her, and somehow along the way she wouldn’t be Luna anymore, but someone else – someone like the rest of the world, a person she didn’t want to be like. Yet, unlike George who would never get to be his old self again, she had matured but had still preserved the awkwardness that set her apart and made her unique and lovable. If the war and the horrific sight of the bloodied battle field had done something to Luna, that was only strengthening her.
In times when grief had been so grave, she had found in herself, the power to carry on. She had leaned on her dreams, on her exaggerate desire to show people that there is more than what meets eye to help her move on. And independently from her, her friends and all those who had required her shoulder to cry on, had seen that in her as well. They had then realized, that even with so many people gone, they were still alive and should move on because it was the natural state of things.
People die leaving broken hearts behind them, but those that are left standing up must go on, despite the terrible aching draining their whole body. And Luna had helped Harry, Ginny and everyone who had lost someone, to stand up and fight a deadlier enemy than Voldemort.
She was oblivious of her major role in the aftermath, but as she sat in her new room, she realized that the tender gazes of her friends from the photo that she had placed on her desk, reflected more than just lovingness; it showed gratitude and an unabated desire to pay back all her good deeds, regardless of whether she would ever ask for their support or not.
She smiled as she noticed their happy faces staring back at her, Harry’s deep green eyes sparkling from behind the round spectacles as his right arm tucked a beautiful Ginny, Ron’s bemused face as Hermione grabbed his hand and Neville carefully eyeing Hannah who stood a couple of meters away from them.
She turned around and took her wand from the robe pocket, flicked it in the air gracefully, thus producing a white wallpaper with red flower details; she wrapped the chair in a velvet slip cover in matching tones and decided to settle for some perfect white sheets on the bed. She conjured a crystal vase that shined beautifully in the pale light of June and arranged a bouquet of wild flowers, completely dissonant with the neatness of her room.
She felt pleased with the way it looked now, and as a one last piece of furniture she added a rotund mirror on the eastern wall, for good luck.
She heard some voices, coming from outside through the open window and in her habitual curiousness she glanced up to see who was chatting so animatedly in the front yard. She noticed Mr. Scamander and Rolf, talking… no shouting. In fact, it appeared that Mr. Scamander was in someway displeased with his young grandson.
The reason why they were fighting was oblivious to Luna, as she stayed in her room silently watching her teacher gesticulating vividly and Rolf, showing off an impassive look as if he’d rather be somewhere and doing something far more exciting than listening to his grandfather’s reprimands. It appeared to Luna at that point that this surely wasn’t their first argument, and it most certainly was not going to be the last one of that day.
But maybe, she thought to herself, she was reading too much into it.
Rolf picked up his broomstick, which Luna immediately recognized as being a Firebolt like Harry’s, and despite his grandfather’s angry stare, he took off and flew faster towards the nearby forest, which stretched all over the horizon line.
Mr. Scamander sighed and then proceeded back to the house without even bothering to look behind for one last time. But Luna continued to watch young Rolf, or better said, the small dark dot that with every second drifted farther and farther until she lost track of him.
Mrs. Scamander had asked her many house elves to cook something special for tonight’s dinner, as the family was receiving their two guests, Luna and Gustav. Luna emerged from her room, after taking one last glance at her reflection in the mirror and as her nostrils indulged themselves with the sinful aroma coming from downstairs, she smiled. She went down the stairs, gradually counting the steps without even bothering to look around and as she reached number twelve, she spotted Gustav and Mr. Scamander talking in the main lobby, in what appeared to be an accidental meeting.
They bowed their heads at the sight of Luna and the old man invited her to head off to the dining room. She agreed and on her way to the room that he had indicated, she transitorily glanced at one of the large mirrors, to see if indeed she looked alright. She wore, that night, a flirty green dress with tiny sparkling beads sewed on the upper part and a pair of flat shoes that added a childish note to her womanly appearance. A matching scarf gracefully adorned her neck, fondling her back and beautifully contrasted with her pale skin colour.
She had her hair pulled in a bun and as usual she had used her wand to tie it, instead of a pin, like any other young witch would have done. Yet, as custom, Luna seldom bothered to acknowledge what was regarded as being normal, or even proper for that matter, and seemed only to confine to the rules that she had imposed herself. And her precincts were not restricted by the natural order of the society…
She opened the big door that land marked the passing to the dining room and as she entered, she greeted Mrs. Scamander who as always was giving precious directions to her house elves about the order in which the guests were to be seated at the table.
“Luna, dear…” the woman spoke fondly. “Do you have any preferences as to next to whom you’d like to be seated?”
“No, thank you. Any of those seats will do for me, as long as they’re not next to the bushy plant over there” she replied while pointing at the endmost corner of the room.
“Why is that?”
“There are Nargles in there… quite battling ones as I can tell. Wouldn’t want to mess with them” she responded dreamily gazing at the bush.
Porpentina let out a chuckle, which she suppressed gracefully by covering her mouth with her wrinkled palm, thus displaying a beautiful ring adorned with a black pearl.
“Nargles, they’re supposed to be some sort of beasts, right?” she added after finally managing to stop her laughter.
“Yes, quite agile and smart, if you ask me” Luna replied, completely unaffected by Mrs. Scamander’s raging giggles. “What a rare ring you have here,” she went as she approached the woman to get a better view of the precious jewelry.
“Indeed, it’s quite rare” she said while extending her hand for Luna to analyze the gleaming rock. “It’s a black pearl from the Indian Ocean… The merpeople offered it as a gift to Newt in one of his many trips to India. And the gold is goblin manufactured. It’s quite a dear piece to me…”
“I can understand why…it’s very beautiful, indeed.”
Luna felt something soft rubbing against her bare ankle and as she glanced down, she noticed a fluffy white cat looking back at her, a pair of shimmering blue eyes staring up. The cat appeared to have wandered all day long outside in the gardens, as she had all sorts of cockles meddling with her pure white fur and her nose seemed to have gained a rather sooty surface. It reminded her quite much of Crookshanks, Hermione’s adorable cat that Ron hated with all his being.
“Oh, what a lovely little cat” she spoke while leaning over to cuddle the fluffy fur ball.
“It’s a kneazle actually… We have three; this one is Miller, the sweetest of all. Mauler is quite introvert, while Hoppy is a bit conceited, like our Rolf. Newt certainly spoiled both of them…” the woman explained melancholically.
The door swung open and Mr. Scamander entered bringing along a very dashing looking Gustav, who was wearing a spotless shirt and a pair of luxurious pants that one could only buy in Twift and Tattling or perhaps in a French boutique. He was playing with a galleon… chicly fiddling it about with his long fingers then throwing it up in the air as to later catch it in his palm. He nodded as his eyes met Luna’s and smiled at Mrs. Scamander.
They sat at the table after entertaining themselves with a rather pointless chit chat about the many dishes that were to be served and as the house-elves were bringing the abundant chargers, Mrs. Scamander glanced at the large pendulum, adorning the facing wall. It was 7 in the evening and her grandson had yet to come back from his usual wandering. Luna observed that the seat across the table from her was empty and immediately realized that it was to be occupied by Rolf, if he pleased to attend dinner that night.
The egregious sound of cutlery being picked up from the table was instantly numbed as the front door creaked upon being opened. Mrs. Scamander sighed relived and ordered one of the house-elves to fetch her grandson and if, by any means, he were reluctant to join them, he could resort to apparition, a forced one that is. Luna smiled as she heard the ceaseless begging of the little creature for “the little master to have dinner”.
Rolf seemed to have found the idea rather silly, but without any further resistance he finally agreed and together with the elf, stepped inside the dining room.
He wore a middle length taupe coat, black trousers and a purple t-shirt that seemed to rather hang off him. His hair was very much messy, probably because he had rode the broomstick all day long and his hands were red, most probably on account of the chillness that the sunset had brought along. He saluted his grandparents, smiled at the guests and then took the seat facing Luna’s. He handed the coat to the house elf who had accompanied him and then begun indulging his tasting buds with the salmon file from his plate, without even bothering about his grandmother’s glare.
Luna stared at him for a while, her dreamy eyes fixing every feature of his face, which slightly incommoded Rolf and as she noticed that he was looking back at her, she shifted her gaze towards a carpet detail that resembled very much a pygmy puff, like the one Ginny had; Arnold was his name.
She noticed something gleaming in the pale light provided by burning candles and on a second look from where the source of sparkles came she realized that it was actually the pearl ring whose surface reflected the golden flames. Such artistry had been required to craft such beautiful piece of jewelry. She reasoned that it might have cost a small fortune to produce such a refined adornment that could simply be called a living piece of art.
She thought she heard a squeaking and as her gaze shifted towards the endmost and darkest corner of the room, she spotted a pair of glistening eyes which couldn’t possibly belong to any of the kneazles. She hastily took her wand from her bun, thus letting the hair fall on her shoulders, and as she averted the tip towards the unidentified entity she shouted “stupefy”. There was again a squeaking sound and Mrs. Scamander jumped from her seat, quickly followed by her husband.
“Luna” she cried out making Rolf snigger. “What was that all about?”
“Oh, I’m sorry for having scared you… but you were in grave danger!” she addressed her in a rather alarmed tone of voice.
She glanced at Rolf who was barely controlling himself from bursting into fits of laughter, and suddenly she begun wondering if there was really something comic about this situation. Mr. Scamander increased the lightning and all eyes turned to the rat-looking beast that lay stupefied on the carpet.
“You see… that’s a niffler! They’re quite cute but they do like jewelries and will bite them if they can. Your ring seemed like a nice, tasty meal…” Luna explained and Mrs. Scamander sighed.
“Thank you” she replied bemused. “You’ve saved…my ring.”
Luna smiled and then pulled her hair again in a bun using her wand. Mr. Scamander laughed and then elbowed his grandson.
“That’s what a real naturalist is about, Rolf. Miss Luna, you should give my grandson a couple of lessons” he said in a very serious tone of voice.
“I don’t need anyone giving me lessons…” Rolf muttered, frowning. “I think I can handle a silly niffler on my own, thank you.” He excused himself from the table and then left the room without even bothering to say goodnight.
Rolf headed silently towards his room, forcefully biting his upper lip as though being overly concerned about something. How he hated when his family barged into his life, like that. He didn’t want to be a naturalist, yet it seemed that it had been chosen for him prior to his birth even. He didn’t see himself as this great animal researcher like his father and grandfather were… he though he didn’t possess any of the qualities required and most certainly he lacked that certain spark, the one that the strange Luna seemed to have encapsulated for ten people.
He hardly bothered to investigate on his own and whenever his grandfather would cluster his bureau with books regarding the magical fauna, he would just ignore his attempts to gain his interest and pretend he had never taken notice of them. Yet he did…
Mind you, he liked animals, had grown up accompanied by all sorts of creatures that his father and grandfather had discovered in their many trips around the world, but it didn’t feel like he would be able to pull off as great as his predecessors. He didn’t find any ounce of capacity in himself and moreover would rather dedicate his time doing any other activity, much to his grandparents’ contempt.
I am not that, he kept repeating to himself as he walked along the ample corridor. He felt terrified of stepping in his forefathers’ shoes, as they were too big and the burden of having to endure criticism had always been too heavy for Rolf, even from early age.
He was proud and hated being disregarded, even if for the right reasons. He had never felt at ease amongst his father’s friends, all capable and worthy of esteem type of people… smart and famous in a way he never thought he could be. He was someone, because he was Newt Scamander’s grandson. For the hundredth time he wished he weren’t related to a person. He just wanted to be Rolf, a nameless person wandering on the face of Earth enjoying his life and never bothering again with such worries, like the inestimable legacy that he was forced to take on once his grandfather would die.
As a child he had been immensely proud of having such a famous family as his playground mates thrived at the hearing of his last name. And he would feel good when he would tell them stories about his courageous grandfather, who had battled dragons in the Romanian forests and then succumbed in the depths of the sea to shake hands with the merpeople and take snapshots of hippocampuses.
But as he had grown up he had realized that he didn’t want to be just another man who had not been able to equal the achievements of his predecessor. He wanted to be Rolf, just Rolf. He whished he could do something that didn’t exactly relate him to his father and family… he hardly was able to look at himself in the mirror and feel like an individual. He was a Scamander, people looked at him in this manner, yet Rolf knew that it didn’t define him. He was not his last name…
He slammed the door of his room and then threw his tired body onto the neatly made bed. The sheets smelled good, like they always did when he would return to his grandparent’s house to spend the summers. They had the scent of freedom… a freedom that had once been represented by the many quests his grandfather would make up for him as a young boy, in which he was supposed to discover a new beast, a new creature. How he had wished as a child to stay all year round in Dorset and accompany his granddad in yet another chase for a fantastic animal that no one had ever seen or even heard of. He had hoped and dreamt in this very bed for him to discover something genuinely new, a creature that he would later name by his wife or his favourite record.
But today all those wishes seemed so far away…Liberty was no longer granted by discovery and adventure, but rather by those long parties he attended with his friends, or the next girl he would date and later dump shamelessly. He would feel good about himself in those moments, but the next morning his life would always return to its habitual tediousness and gleefulness… he wasn’t free. He would never get to be…
He sighed as he fidgeted in his bed, not being able to find a place or a position to suit his needs. Nothing ever catered to his wishes lately… that party wasn’t fun anymore, that girl was no longer capable of sufficing nor his mind nor his body and that bottle no longer managed to make him forget for a split second about his life.
He lifted from the bed, stretching his arms and back, hoping it would grant him a bit of comfort, but the spasmodic pain, localized somewhere around his waist, didn’t seem to want to leave his side anymore. He shouldn’t have ridden a broomstick today…
He headed towards the curtained window, overlooking the sea that wattered the shore, its giant waves splashing melodiously against the rocks. He noticed the slim figure of a girl walking towards the edge of the cliff, every once in a while hopping happily. It was Luna. She strolled along the brink, barefoot despite the chillness, which had numbed the hotness of a beautiful day of July… She held her flat shoes in her right hand and the other one was gently pulling the wand she had, so strangely, used to tie her dirty blonde hair.
The wind started blowing faster, ruffling her hair and her dress fluttered fancifully under the forceful breeze. She wore a scarf around her neck, which gently slid down, dragged by the intensity of the wind somewhere – asunder – but she didn’t even gestured the need to get it back. She just let it go as if she was disposing of an unwanted object and watched it depart with such melancholy in her gaze as if she was bereaving herself of a vital asset.
The easiness in which she had let it drift away and the look in her eyes that genuinely imprinted the anxiety caused by the same action, astonished Rolf. If it was so important and relevant, and if it brought such sadness, why had she let it float away? Why hadn’t she at least extended her arms in an attempt to get hold of the scarf…? Maybe she would have caught it…
“Who is this Luna Lovegood…?” he asked himself, as he watched her silently, confined behind the blue curtain of his window.
A/N So after having received so many wonderful reviews and such encouraging ones, indeed, I decided to post another chapter ASAP. I hope you'll like this one as well, since it has a bit more of Rolf and his life. Again many thanks to jkrowling_fan, jacqueline, evie_doherty, xXLuna_LovegoodXx and all those wonderful and absolutely fantastic people who have taken some of their precious time to read and review this story. Another thank you goes out to those who have added When Luna met Rolf to their faves. Thank you all guys, you make me day. I'll be going this week, Tuesday-Sunday, to a national competition at Spanish and I'll not be able to reply to the reviews, however, rest assured that I'll get back and give you all an answer when I return. Wish me luck! Lots of love, yours truly, uptowngirlinlove/lucretia neva(forum name).