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When Luna met Rolf by uptowngirlinlove
Chapter 1: A new day, a new life
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“As we go on, we remember
All the times we had together
And as our lives change, from whatever
We will still be, friends forever”
Vitamin C-Friends forever
It was a beautiful morning of July, the Sun was sparkling shamelessly on the crystal clear sky, the little birds were singing their cheerful song in the green trees and the habitual chillness of Scotland had been choked by the infectious warmth of a summer day. Hogwarts was silent, few people roaring on the dark long corridors that morning, and even fewer teachers surveying the grounds. Luna stepped outside the Ravenclaw dormitory wearing her house uniform for what was to be the last time in her life. Today she was graduating, along with some of her fellow colleagues, people whom she had seldom interacted with all throughout the first years of school, but in whom she had found love and affection right after Voldemort’s defeat.
They had become her family, her life and the school itself had been so much more than just an institution where she had learnt to do magic. It was in Hogwarts that she had discovered just how beautiful magic was; just how interesting animals and magical beasts were and it was there that she had found friendship…real friendship.
She emerged to the ground floor, every once in a while hopping, imagining that this was yet another morning when she would get up and have breakfast in the Great Hall and then head off to classes.
But it wasn’t just another normal morning… She suddenly felt sad for abandoning her childhood playground, the teachers, and her favorite desk in the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom overlooking the Quidditch Pitch. She regretted having to say goodbye to the jolly ghosts, for she would surely miss a nice talk to Sir Nicholas, or a nice friendly advice from the Fat Friar, or even a shy glance from the Grey Lady. And even Peeves, she would most certainly feel sorry about not waking up in the morning without his pathetic little songs, most of which he had composed on her account…and Moaning Myrtle, how many times she had scared Luna to death, when she had sneaked into the damaged bathroom to find a little tranquility. Oh, this was all so difficult…
She entered the Grand Hall, with a lump in her throat, suddenly feeling coward and for the first time in years, reluctant to sit at the Ravenclaw table, at the exact spot she had occupied all throughout that time. Nevertheless, she managed to walk past the Slytherin table, without even bothering to frown at the hearing of the malicious sneers of Asteria Greengrass and her loyal companions, who now were the successors of Pansy Parkinson, Milicent Bulstrode and the other girls who had graduated the former year, as Luna recalled now. If by any reason, in the past, she would have felt offended by their name calling and the infamous “Loony” nick name, today she held her head high, knowing that she was just another person on whom the Slytherins would pour their hatred.
At least the other faces of the students belonging to the rest of the houses, were much warmer and in a way loving towards Luna. Emilia Stanton, a witty girl with black hair and deep blue eyes smiled at her from across the Ravenclaw table and waved at her to come and sit by her. Luna shook her head and then gestured towards the Gryffindor table at the far end corner of the room, and most specifically in Ginny’s direction, who was talking vividly with some of her dormitory mates. They were all laughing and smiling and Luna guessed that they were most probably talking about Ginny’s wedding to Harry, an event which was to take place at the start of September that same year.
Luna smirked as she remembered that next month she and Hermione would go to Diagon Alley to choose their bridesmaids dresses. She doubted that Hermione would let her get matching yellow robes, but in a way it hardly made a difference now, for the only thing that Luna was interested in was making sure that Ginny’s day went on perfectly.
She approached the table and all of the sudden the loud murmurs and giggles ceased, and the sparkling eyes of the flirty girls beamed at her playfully. Ginny smiled.
“Good morning, Luna” she said. “Care to join us for breakfast? The girls and I were talking about the wedding…I was just telling them that Harry and I are going on honeymoon to Sweden to see the Quidditch World Cup.”
“Merlin, you and Harry must be the only people on earth who think that the Wronsky Feint is romantic” Imelda Brown blurted from across the table, making the girls laugh soundly.
Luna smiled, her lips curling slightly, enough to leave the impression that she indeed had enjoyed the remark, but still not sufficient as to camouflage the sudden sadness about graduating and finally leaving the grounds after seven years.
“I find it quite…unique” Luna added after the giggles started fading. “My Dad and I went on a trip there; just before our fifth year…We went looking for Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks.”
“Did you find any?” another girl, whom Luna knew only by sight, asked, making Ginny glare at her.
“Oh…I’m afraid we didn’t” Luna responded dreamily, her eyes gliding towards the pudding in Ginny’s plate. “They’re quite difficult to track, you see. It takes years and years to at least get a glimpse of them, they’re quite agile creatures and do like to hide a lot.”
“I’m sure they do” the nasty girl replied and Ginny rolled her eyes.
“Harry ran into your Dad at the Ministry, the other day” Ginny spoke, thus breaking the awkward silence that was so characteristic of Luna sometimes. “He told me you’ve received a job proposition. Is it true?”
“Indeed…I’m starting next week” Luna answered playfully.
“What’s it about?”
“Oh, well, I’m going to be Newt’s Scamander assistant” she said and started fidgeting with her wand, not being able to find it a proper position in her pocket. “I reckon it should be really interesting…I mean, Mr. Scamander is one of the greatest naturalists of our times. I’m sure I will learn a lot from him.”
“I’m glad for you, Luna” Ginny replied, a broad grin appearing on her face. “But please, do sit!”
“Oh no…I must go back to my table” Luna said. “This is after all, the last time I’m going to be a Ravenclaw”
Ginny smiled as the girl with long, dirty blonde hair waved at her and then headed back to her respective table. How much had Luna changed, in the past three years…She was no longer an outcast…she had friends who cared for her, people whom she had helped and in return they had shown their undying loyalty.
She was no longer Loony the girl that talked too much about Crumpled Horned Snorkaks, making everyone else uncomfortable around her. Yet even if she still dreamed so big and at times fantasized about beasts and all kind of magical creatures that no one had ever heard of, she didn’t bother anymore like she used to in the past.
Her friends found that charming about her and Ginny now recalled just how soothing her dreamy eyes had been in times when nothing could have provided comfort to them. The war had ended, but everyone had lost something valuable, a friend, a husband, a child, a cousin…she had lost a brother, her parents had said goodbye to their son, Harry had cried for his friend and George had splintered his soul. Fred was gone…and the world could never be the same again.
But somehow in the midst of all the hurting and the suffering, Luna had opened her heart and had inspired everyone to dare to go on with their lives. Ginny recalled that talk they had had, right after the final battle, Luna’s arms curling around her body and the crystalline voice hissing to her ears “it’s alright”.
And indeed, everything had turned out great. She was getting married that year, Hermione and Ron were almost engaged, Neville had just started dating Hannah and George had found relief in Angelina’s arms. Despite all the people who had lost their lives in that war, Ginny looked at her life and felt pleased, because even if she dearly missed Fred, she had people on whom to count.
And if it hadn’t been for Luna, she would have never been brave enough as to open her eyes and see just how many beautiful things were waiting for her, behind the pain and the mourning. She owed so much to Luna, yet she knew that her dear friend would never ask for any kind of repayment, or compensation.
And as Ginny watched the blonde girl strode off to the Ravenclaw table, in that so characteristic hopping, she realized what true friendship was really about. It was about keeping one mind’s clear and focused in times when it’s virtually unattainable to do so, just because another one needs you to accomplish the impossible, about being able to reach a hand to someone who requires it, even if you, yourself, could certainly need some support, about giving up one’s grief to sooth the other’s. But foremost, it was about showing care, love, friendship and loyalty in times when those feelings are just as rare as a drip of rain in the dessert, when the circumstances strained one to give up any sense of humanity.
Luna had been brave, possibly braver than everyone, because not even once had she let a tear escape those dreamy blue eyes, because she had been that hand to hold, that embrace in which to tuck your body, that smile to lighten up the dark skies, the voice that calmed the sobs…she had been everything that they hadn’t been able to be, because the grief and the pain of losing everything they had held most dear had been too grave. She had held her ground and today Ginny was what she was, because in a cloudless night of May, after she had sensed on her heart, the manacles of death, Luna had taken her between her arms, had listen to her sobs and had encouraged her to lift her chin up, even if the pain overpowering her body was intense.
Luna sat at the table, glanced at today’s Quibbler that everyone seemed to devour ever since the final battle and Ginny silently thanked her for having been there for her in times when she may as well have been grieving for what she had lost. Luna took a plate of pudding and started eating happily, every once in a while pouting her lips as though humming a song. Ginny smiled at the sudden display, thinking to herself that despite all the things that had changed, there were still some, or better said some people, who had managed to get through that war in one piece.
She was glad that Luna was one of them.
Luna emerged from the Great Hall, where the graduation ceremony had just ended, and as she walked past the massive staircase leading to the upper floors, she noticed a small gathering of red head people, with some very familiar black jets of ruffled hair mingling between all the gingery tones. The Weasleys and Harry had come to get Ginny.
She eyed them lovingly, Harry with his trade mark round glasses and lanky figure, hugging his beautiful fiancée, Ron glaring at them as though still not fully ready to trust his sister’s life to his best mate and Hermione clutching his hand reassuringly. Mrs. Weasley was barely controlling herself of not bursting into fits of crying, her husband was gently rubbing her back, as though reading her mind and somewhere behind them she spotted one year old Teddy Lupin, curiously watching the baby bun inside Fleur’s arms, whom everyone knew to be Victoire, the first child to be born after the final battle.
Then Bill joined the scene, quickly followed by Neville and Hannah who as always, were holding hands and throwing shy glances at one another, flushing and giggling soundly. Luna smiled as she noticed the family gathering, and as her eyes glided to the main door she saw George and Angelina entering. He looked better than the last time Luna had seen him, far healthier in appearance and he didn’t seem to be depressed either. It seemed that Angelina was taking good care of him…
Harry glanced at the bottom of the stairs and saw Luna, the habitual bohemian gaze plastered to her face, and thought that she was most probably contemplating another wild hunt for yet another fantastic creature, one that no one had ever heard of nor ever seen. He waved at her and she smiled.
“Luna, come on up here” he shouted and she felt compelled by everyone’s stares to join the gathering, despite her wish to not be intrusive.
“Hi Harry” she whispered, while looking into the eyes of a man that had once belonged to a scrawny boy, haunted by an honorable duty he couldn’t possibly fulfill. "Thank you for the card you sent me for my birthday. It was lovely.”
“No problem” Harry said, blushing faintly. “I’m glad you liked it.”
“I would have taken it with me, today, if it hadn’t been stolen from my drawer last month” she replied.
“Don’t tell me that your dorm mates are pulling pranks on you, again” Hermione complained, while reaching out for Luna.
“Oh, no” she responded, a sudden melancholia wavering in her voice. “They are most kind, nowadays, which unfortunately doesn’t apply to Nargles. They have been quite nasty, lately. It’s their breeding season, you see… and they tend to become a bit hyper-active.”
Hermione rolled her eyes, as always dismissing any possibility that Nargles might even exist. But where Hermione lacked faith on an account of need for evidences, Luna would lay all her trust on, because she chose to believe in things that others didn’t. Not because she wanted to trot out or because she was plain credulous… she just wanted to show that ignorance as blissful as it is can blindfold in such manner as to make people miss the most beautiful and important aspects of life, which for her were those little, almost imperceptible creatures that in one way or another helped balanced the world.
If Luna had not been passionate about that particular field in the Magical World, and show an interest in Healing Charms for example, she would have still preserved that weirdness and people would still have pointed at her for her unrelenting studies trying to prove that there is a cure for lycanthropy. Because in the end she didn’t want to prove that Nargles existed, she knew they did and not even Hermione could convince her otherwise, but she was trying to get people into realizing that just because some things are not sustained by a proof, that doesn’t mean that they should be regarded as ludicrous.
And if Harry had vanquished the greatest wizard of all times at 17, despite the initial doubts that most people had shown concerning his capacities, then why shouldn’t Nargles, or Crumple-Horned Snorkaks or any other beast that she had ever mentioned, truly exist? If one asked Luna, she would always reply that the most mysterious things in life just happen to be right in front of our eyes.
“Oh, yes I forgot about that” Harry mumbled while recalling that Luna had mentioned something about Nargles in June. “So, this is the end…”
“Yes, most unfortunately….It’s funny how when you finally get used to it, you’re bound to leave. I was barely starting to settle in” Luna replied and suddenly Ginny felt like hugging her friend.
It had taken seven years for Luna to adjust to Hogwarts, and for Hogwarts to adjust to Luna…Seven, very long years, in which both sides had laughed, cried and witnessed events way past the capacity of a teenager to understand. But Luna and her friends were there, ending another chapter in their lives, standing in the blistering wind of a new life just waiting to happen and after all that had occurred they felt both sad and happy.
Sad because the last members of their group were graduating and even if Harry, Hermione and Ron hadn’t come back to finish their seventh year, all three felt as if they were saying goodbye to the school along with Ginny and Luna. This had been the place where they had grown up, where they had been happy and sad, where they had first fallen in love and kissed. On these grounds Harry had met Ginny, his future-to-be wife, Ron and Hermione had hated and loved each other…It was here that Neville had found out that he possessed courage, and strength and all the qualities based on which he had been sorted into Gryffindor, where Luna had first had a friend, and then had become one herself.
George glanced around and remembered all those times when he and his late brother Fred, had misbehaved, had ran on these very corridors…there had been happy days and nights and today all that was left of them was their mere memory.
But they felt happy, as well, because despite all that had happened, they had had the time of their lives in that school.
And now, they all knew, that it was time to say goodbye to the jolly years of childhood and youth and progress, later become adults and form families, have children and grow old. It was the natural state of the world and Luna felt happy that most of her friends were going to settle to that order in the end.
“Where are you heading to, Harry?” Luna suddenly asked, and even if her question had been in some way ambiguous, everyone knew what she had referred to.
“Well, I’m going to be an Auror…I’ll marry Ginny, have children…” he replied and then eyed Ron, as though asking him the same.
“Me? Huh…I’ll be an Auror too and err…marry Hermione” he responded, suddenly blushing.
“That’s if I’ll have you” she snapped, playfully curling an arm around his.
“Of course” he added.
“I’ve applied for a job in the Department for Magical Creatures…Somebody has to stop people from abusing house elves” she then said.
“A sort of larger scale Spew?” George asked playfully and Angelina smiled.
“It’s not Spew. It’s S.P.E.W., but the idea is kind of the same, indeed” she admitted. “What about you Luna? Scamander’s assistant I’ve heard?”
“Indeed, I’m starting next week. I’m rather excited about it, though it’s going to take a lot of hard work” she said, dreamily.
“I’m sure you’ll manage it,” Ginny told and laid her left hand on her shoulder.
Luna tucked her hands in the jeans’ pockets and hurried towards the Forbidden Forest, all by herself. She counted her steps towards the core of the forest where she knew that Thestrals liked to stay, for most of the day. She recognized every leaf, every tree branch and most certainly she could still trace her steps on the dusty alley. She had gone through this narrow path, streaming between the flourishing bushes, for so many times that now, that she was about to do it for the last time, she felt like lingering more, steadily dragging her feet along the road.
She walked slowly, yet determined to the core of the forest, trying to imprint every smell in her nostrils, to memorize every single décor and preserve the cheerful tune of the nightingales in her ears. She wanted to be able to remember everything, fifty years from now. She saw herself, at an advanced age, maybe 70 or even older, on a rocking chair in her garden facing a beautiful Victorian house, reading to her grandchildren a book about magical beasts that she had written herself.
And then, as the chilly wind of September would banish the children inside, she would still sit there, sniffing the air and recalling what it had felt like today. She would remember the beautiful flowers blossoming in the bushes, the odd, yet most interesting Thestrals and would recall all those time she had ventured inside the Forbidden Forest to go looking for something that couldn’t possibly be found between the branches of a tree.
And she would recall her friends… Ginny’s flaming red hair playing in the wind, Ron’s freckles that covered most of his cheeks and long nose, Harry’s round glasses and the way his hair stuck at the back, Neville’s plumpness and Hermione’s bossy voice. And even if they would be most certainly old, and some of them would have died maybe, their memory would still be as vivid to Luna as it was today.
She smiled to herself, as she emblazoned in her mind the figure of a 70 year-old self, her dirty blond hair gaining a grayish tone and her eyes, as dreamy as ever. She turned left, and as the chillness of the dark forest pierced her body to the bones she remembered all those times in which she had walked, barefoot, despite the cold outside, because her mates had hidden all her shoes away. Nobody ever did that nowadays, but somehow Luna missed that.
She reached for her flat shoes and removed them from her feet. And as she felt the agreeable sensation of dirt dabbing between her thumbs she continued her journey, every now and then hopping happily, her hand clutching the shoes while the other one placed the wand behind her ear.
The small family of Thestrals was just like she remembered it to be, yet today they felt special to Luna, even more than they already were on a regular basis. She reached for a piece of raw meat from her backpack and then threw it on the ground for the little ones to eat it.
“I’m going to miss you, all” she whispered, more to herself than to the Thestrals.
She noticed another piece of meat, being thrown at them but she knew she hadn’t been the one to do it, for her hand now lay immobile next to her body. She turned around and saw Harry, Ginny, Neville, Ron and Hermione sitting behind, all of them clutching a piece of the exact treat in their palms. They flanked her and together they watched the Thestrals enjoying the food. She sighed, remembering that not long ago no one had believed her when she had said that these fantastic creatures existed; no one, except for Harry.
Today, after witnessing all the deaths, they could all see the Thestrals. But awkwardly enough, the sight of the animals brought sadness to neither of them, but rather happiness, because it reminded them of just how many wonderful people had died bravely, so that they could get to live another day…so that they got to sit there today welcoming a brand new life, a better one… It connected them to their late friends, to their gone relatives and even to some people that they had never met.
The Thestrals were the living proof of their grief, of their incomplete heart and above all things of their unrelenting thankfulness to all those who had perished so bravely, fighting the experienced Death Eaters, in their quest for liberty… the liberty that they no longer enjoyed on earth, but the one they had granted to Harry and his friends.
“We’re always going to be friends, right?” Neville suddenly asked.
“Of course” Luna replied.
A/N Thank you so much for having waited patiently for me to post this first chapter. I hope you'll enjoy it and if you have any additional questions, please feel to stop by my Meet the Author Thread. For the time being, I will update simultaneously for this story and I go back to Black. When Luna met Rolf is dedicated to jaqueline_noir(a wonderful friend and fellow Romanian author), jk_rowling fan ( my favourite reviewer and penfriend), ILoveNeville, EmeraldGryffindor, Memento Mori( who showed that fanfics can be masterpieces; thank you dear for having been such an inspiration) and evie_doherty (for offering me a nice taste of oddness with her Vienna).
Chapter 2: The frightening routine of growing up
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“We never really are the adults we pretend to be. We wear the mask and perhaps the clothes and posture of grown-ups, but inside our skin we are never as wise or as sure or as strong as we want to convince ourselves and others we are. We may fool all the rest of the people all of the time, but we never fool our parents. They can see behind the mask of adulthood. To her mommy and daddy, the empress never has on any clothes—and knows it.”
Ottery St. Catchpole had never seemed so remotely beautiful to Luna, as it did that morning, while she was saying goodbye to her jolly father and faithful house-elf, Goran. She emerged from the rook-like house that too many appeared like a great cylinder, and glanced around. Her eyes indulged themselves with the smooth curves of the hills, bathed in the warm light of the morning Sun, her ears thrived at the hearing of the little blue birds singing in the apple tree in front of her house and her lips suddenly curled in a smile as she noticed somewhere in the distance the grey fog emanated, most probably, from one of the many chimneys of the Burrow.
She had been born in this very place, had spent all her childhood playing in the small back garden with her mother and later had lost her in one of the small, clustered rooms, at which windows she was now gazing. It was behind one of those old looking windows, flanked by grey worn-out frames that her mother has spent her last remaining minutes, in the company of her nine-year old daughter and her mourning husband. She had been happy there, the hours seemed to have passed so fast while in the basement with her clever mother who always experimented some new exciting and hopefully most useful spell. She had taught her to love and appreciate oddness and uniqueness but, most importantly, she had bestowed her only daughter the cravenness for discovery and adventure.
As she stepped outside, carefully descending the rocky sequence of steps in front of the door, she recalled all those moment when, as the curious 7 year old, she had barged into her mother’s lab to spy on her latest developments, always getting caught and always being invited inside to get a better look on whatever was happening there. She remembered the purple fog that emerged from the many bottles, her mother’s floral patterned skirt, the way her hands smelled – like cinnamon and floo powder – the dreamy blue eyes to which she would always wake up in the morning after taking a quick glance in the mirror and the woman’s soft voice, asking her to come in.
She sniffed the air and for a second, she thought it smelled like her mother’s perfume, magnolia flowers and jasmine. She shrugged knowing that she had self induced her nostrils to perceive that odd combination of scents that her mother had been so fond of. It felt like a distant memory, like a flash going through one’s mind in the morning, after a dream. It wasn’t real, it wasn’t even possible for the air to smell like her, and Luna reckoned that the mere sensation had been caused not by a calm breeze, bringing along the scent from the Asian forests maybe, but by a sudden olfactory memory-the one she had preserved for so long in her heart.
She dearly missed her, even after the many years that had gone by since her passing, for Luna had never fully accepted her mother’s parting. It had been so sudden, so unexpected, so hurtful… Her mother had passed away in autumn. She had woken Luna up that morning, running her gentle soft fingers through the dirty blonde hair, her voice calming the growls coming from her daughter’s throat, who always complained about having to abandon the bed at such early hours. She had helped her get dressed, had accompanied her at breakfast while her father had read them the newest edition of the Quibbler and after the clock had struck 10, her mother had retreated to the basement lab to experiment something she had been working on for months.
On that particular morning, Luna had stayed behind with her father to study the recent edition of Newt Scamander’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, which apparently had reached his 46th issue. She had not sneaked from the kitchen, while Xenophilius pretended to be busy, as to allow his young daughter to creep away. She had not emerged outside, had not ran barefoot on the dusty alleyway circling the house, had not shivered as the chilly air of October pierced the thin layers of her clothing and she had not entered the lab to look through the creak of the mahogany door at her mother. Instead she had tucked herself in her father’s arms, while he held the book for both to see it and together they had read the introduction.
And then an alarming sound had bustled from beneath them, where she knew her mother was. She knew then that something terribly bad had happened. Together they had lifted from the couch, the book had fallen from her lap, producing a grating sound as it hit the parquetry - a thud that Luna had never forgotten - and they had rushed to the lab. And there, she had seen her mother’s immobile body, fallen to the ground… the chaos that the once neatly arranged office had transformed into had managed to send shivers down her spine and as her father picked her in his arms, she had felt tears invading her eyes. He had carried her silently to their bedroom, while Luna followed them in the distance, her steps as staccato as the tune of an old broken piano. She had never felt so small before…
She had touched her mother’s hand, had watched the light leaving her eyes, had heard her muttering the last words, which she couldn’t understand and had seen her father’s eyes wetting as he sent a quick owl to Healer Trenton, who lived just a couple of hills away from them. And then the hand had stopped trembling, Mrs. Lovegood had closed her lids and her mouth did not open again.
She had died…too young, too unexpected, too little heroic than she would have deserved on account of her greatness.
Luna glanced up at the old faded frame of the window through which she had looked outside while, downstairs, a painful vigil was taking place just a day after the unfortunate event. She recalled her only parent left, walking through the door asking her to come to the kitchen to eat something, which she had refused. She had told him something that day, on the particular morning, something that she couldn’t quite remember today... something that had made her hope again... that had helped her move on despite the terrible aching of not having anyone to wake her up in the many mornings that had followed.
“Luna, darling” Mr. Lovegood said as he brought along the last luggage from inside. “Are you sure you don’t want Goran to help you carry these to the main road?”
“Oh, don’t worry Daddy” she replied, while grabbing the small hand luggage by the handler. “I can take them myself. Besides, it’s just the trunk and this hand bag and the main road is not far.”
Xenophilius smiled at the sight of his all grown up daughter. How much she resembled his late wife… everything in Luna was like her: her smile, her long blonde hair and definitely those dreamy blue eyes, the ones that had made him love the woman he had later married. He felt sad now, that he had to say goodbye to his beautiful daughter, the apple of his eyes. But it was only the natural state of the world, children fly away, they spread their wings and they leave behind some very proud parents. And Xenophilius Lovegood was a very proud father, indeed.
His Luna had graduated from Hogwarts with very good marks and her application letter for the job and training offer, publicly displayed in the Prophet by Newt Scamander, had been eagerly accepted. Despite her achievements and his elation at the sight of them, he still wished today that his daughter had not been so gifted and smart. In his fatherly egoism, he now wished his daughter had been a Squib, so that he could keep her by his side forever. But his wife would have never forgiven him for having such malicious thoughts. He must let her go, she belongs there - he kept telling himself.
“I’m going to be alright, Daddy” she whispered as she wrapped him in a tight embrace, as though reading his mind. “I’m going to write you everyday and I’m going to come around for Christmas… And Ginny’s wedding is in September, so we’ll see each other then.”
He cupped her little face, gazed at her blue eyes and then smiled. His Luna was growing up… “You take good care of you, there, love” he added as she estranged herself from his clutch. “You find that Crumpled-Horned Snorkak and I’ll write a nice article about it!”
“Of course” she said enthusiastically.
“Oh, Goran is going to be so terribly lonely without Miss Luna…” the scrawny house-elf cried out while erasing the tears with a rag.
“I’ll come to visit you too, Goran” she assured him and he beamed at her hopefully.
“Will you do that, Miss Luna?”
“Certainly” she replied while hugging him. “Now, it’s time to go… It’s exciting; I’ve never travelled by Knight Bus.”
She grabbed the trunk by its handler, then steadied the hand bag and proceeded towards the gate entrance. She waved at her father and Goran and as she stepped outside her home, she heard her name being called. She turned around and noticed her father rushing behind her.
“What’s the matter?” she asked dreamily.
“Your mother…” he replied while trying to catch his breath. “She would have been so very proud of you.”
Luna smiled. “I know...”
Luna had never travelled by Knight Bus before, not because she hadn’t wanted, but simply because she had never needed it. She had always gone to Hogwarts with the Express, had seldom required to travel long distances and when she had been in need to see her friends, she had just set on foot towards the Burrow, knowing that an army of people whom she trusted would be waiting for her behind the hill that disjointed the two properties. Once she had ridden Thestrals along with the rest of the people who had accompanied Harry to the Ministry of Magic, and more precisely to the Department of Mysteries back in her forth year, but other than that she had never had any experience in such matters.
Sweden had been crossed by train so again, no Knight Bus, and most certainly, now new experiences. She reached the main road, still wondering if her journey to Dorset would be as bumpy and terrifying as Harry had described his to her, just the other week. Apparently, he had left his aunt’s house back in his third year, and out of the blue, this three-decker bus had shown up in the middle of the night to offer him transport to the Leaky Cauldron.
She placed the handbag on the trunk and then took her wand from behind the ear. She held out her wand hand, as she had previously been instructed by Harry, and thought of how much she needed someone to take her to Dorset.
A blasting sound came from behind and as she turned around she noticed a big triple-decked bus, painted in a violet shade of purple approaching furiously. She froze in the middle of the road and before she could even let that intake of air leave her lungs, the bus had stopped, just inches away from where she stood petrified.
She sighed, then grabbed the trunk and moved it along the asphalt, curiously analyzing the outer appearance of the odd mean of transportation. She read out loud the golden doodling on one of the sides of the bus 'The Knight Bus' and as the doors swung open she noticed a tall boy, of about 19 emerging from inside, wearing a funny cap on his head and holding today’s Prophet in his right hand.
“Good morning, damsel in distress. Welcome to the Knight Bus, the only means of transportation for Wizards and Witches at strand” he said. “My name is Angus O’Hare and I will be your conductor for today.”
“Luna Lovegood” she replied stretching her hand and briefly meeting his.
“Where to Miss?” he asked and she smiled.
“To Dorset, please, to the Scamander house, if possible” Luna said, making Angus smirk.
“Anything is possible with the Knight Bus, unless you need to go underwater. That would be 15 sickles, but for 2 more I can offer you something to drink.”
“Oh, here you have them” she said while handing him the money and hopping up on board.
The Knight Bus appeared genuinely impressive to Luna: tens of comfortable-looking armchairs, neatly lined up on rows with a tiny little table on which the many wizards travelling that day had placed their belongings, brackets with burning candles on the walls and a small wooden staircase leading to the upper floors.
“This is Ernie, our driver” Angus told Luna as she sat on one of the front armchairs. "Off we go Ern!”
The bus whipped out and Luna barely managed to steady herself. It was going to be a bumpy journey, indeed. She smiled and glanced outside where the sights kept changing with such rapidity, which Luna found truly delighting.
“And muggles, they can’t see it, can they?” she asked suddenly after the bus had nearly evaded a telephone post.
“No, they can’t” Angus replied, while folding the newspaper. “They never notice anything, blindfolded they live, these muggles…”
Luna sighed. She would never be able to live if she could not see such interesting things, as the Knight Bus, or magic, or Hogwarts, or everything that made her a witch. She loved magic so much that having to bereave of it, would seem unconceivable. As the beautiful scenery of a summer England flashed before her eyes, her mind wandered to the happy days of her teenage years when she had discovered friendship in a handful of people, just as misfit as she was, people with whom she had defeated the greatest wizards of all times.
She recalled that particular day when Harry and Neville had entered the train compartment where she had hidden herself from unwanted looks and nasty comments from pug-faced Pansy Parkinson and her gang of perfect Slytherin girls. Little did she know at that time just how groundbreaking that little reunion back in her fourth year would be for everyone. She would never be the same again…
That year had been the greatest; she had been part of Dumbledore’s Army, had learnt so many wonderful things from Harry Potter, himself, like a Patronus Charm, or other little spells that in the end had saved her life in the battle of the Department of Mysteries. And the next term had been so much rewarding than any other, because she had had people on whom to count on and they had laid all their trust on her. She had never felt more relieved in her life…
And then, as the events of her sixth year unfolded, she found herself returning to Hogwarts, in someway aggrieved by the Headmaster’s death and repugnant towards the one who had replaced him. Her tiny group of six was split in two that year, but along with Ginny and Neville she had tried to revive Dumbledore’s Army, thus creating – with the taciturn approval of their teachers – one of the most organized resistances that had ever been instated in Hogwarts. Together they had defied Alecto and Amycus Carrow, had tried to steal the Sword of Godric Gryffindor from Snape’s office and had seized the dark forces inside, until she had been abducted on her way back to Ottery St. Catchpole for Christmas and then taken to Malfoy Manor.
She melancholically remembered the cold nights that she had spent in the cell, along with Mr. Ollivander, waiting impatiently for something to happen and secretly worrying about her friends. And then the unthinkable had happened…Harry, Hermione and Ron had appeared out of the blue to rescue her and the rest of the prisoners, and together they had set over to Hogwarts to put an end to the battle. She had fought that night, alongside Ginny and Hermione against Bellatrix Lestrange and other Death Eaters and had witnessed both the defeats and the triumphs. She had been there when they had mourned for their friends, but also when they had cheered for their recent victory.
“Dorset, Scamander house” Angus announced and the bus stopped abruptly.
“Oh, thank you” she said as she picked up her trunk and headed straight for the exit. “I’ve had a wonderful journey.”
“Do return, then” he replied and as the door closed behind her she noticed Angus waving at her.
The bus snapped again and before Luna could say a proper goodbye, it disappeared between the many trees that flanked the road.
The house that apparently belonged to Newt Scamander was a big one, with red roof tiles and many sparkling windows with spotless white curtains flaunting from the inside. She opened the wrought iron gate and gazed around, noticing at the far end of the garden a little swinger tied between two large trees with broad boles and long twiggy branches that resembled to tentacles. The pathway leading to the front door was paved with the same red tiles and apparently they had been cleaned recently, for they were wet. She dragged her trunk along, forcefully clutching her handbag and steadily marching towards the impressive entrance door.
She touched the rapper, curiously outlining the ‘S’ engraved just beneath it and then with a firm grip she pressed it to the iron surface, producing a rather peculiar sound.
She heard steps coming from the inside and she sighed. The door swung open, revealing a nice little woman, quite old some might say, with a wide grin plastered to her lips. She wore spectacles with thin red brims, behind which a pair of chocolate brown eyes beamed at her. She had long, curly hair which she had carelessly tied in a French bun, some thin lips that once curled in a smile, imprinted that certain warmth on her face that Luna found adorable. Her robes appeared to be luxurious; a nice floral pattern with golden leaves imprinted on the cuffs and around the turtle neck, while the velvety fabric painted in a royal purple tone added even more superiority to her appearance.
“Good afternoon” Luna said as she clutched her handbag, hoping her voice circumvented a bit of self assurance. “My name is Luna Lovegood and I’ve come…”
“Yes darling, I know perfectly who you are… Please come in,” the woman said and Luna nodded as she stepped inside. “I’m Porpentina, Newt’s wife. He’s in the kitchen now. Make yourself at home and he’ll attend you in a minute.”
The nice woman pointed at an open door and invited Luna to wait there as she headed towards the eastern part of the house, where the kitchen must have been located. Luna thanked her and then proceeded to the room that Mrs. Scamander had indicated, curiously analyzing the furniture and the multicoloured paintings hanging on the walls, portraying some of the magical beasts that Newt Scamander had discovered during his life-long activity as a naturalist. She left her trunk outside on the hallway and then opened the door, revealing what appeared to be the office.
The room was rather large and airy, a big mahogany bureau residing in the middle, just behind a comprehensive library stacked with all sorts of books, a brown leather armchair and a nice round carpet hiding the worn out parquetry. There were many notebooks spread across the bureau, most of them covered with funny doodling or coffee stains, as Luna noticed at a closer look.
She dragged a chair and sat on it and as her hands fidgeted in her lap, she glanced outside on the window, hoping that the sight of the little swinger slightly bouncing in the feeble breeze would her calm down. She heard another knock on the front door, but Mrs. Scamander’s quick stepping across the hallway assured her that indeed she wasn’t supposed to attend to the new guest.
Another couple of seconds had passed when the door opened behind her and as she turned around she was greeted by two men, one rather old and another one, closer in age with her. The man, whom she instantly recognized as Scamander, was not that tall, had a bushy white moustache and wore a monocle on his right eye, which genuinely emphasized his bright nature. The other one was a tall boy, of about 18, just like Luna, with brown hair and black eyes, who wore a dark outdoor robe that made a funny swish sound when he moved. Luna lifted from her seat and introduced herself.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Scamander” she said as she stretched her hand. “I’m Luna Lovegood… I’m here for the job offer.”
“Nice to meet you Luna… Your father owns the Quibbler if I’m not mistaken. Gustav, now you remember that name. You might want to read it someday - they take care of what truly matters in this world,” he said and winked at Luna while sitting in his armchair. “This is Gustav Shingleton; his father invented the self-stirring cauldron, so you’re not the only one with a famous last name, Miss Lovegood.”
She smiled at Gustav and as Mr. Scamander began talking again, she refrained herself from looking curiously at her colleague and instead focused on whatever the man was explaining.
“You will live and work in my house, each one with its respective rooms. You can leave whenever you please, just as long as you let me know at least a couple of days in advance. If by any means you are not satisfied with your achievements, you can always quit. I will not take it personally” he joked and Luna smirked. “Now, I suppose you’re both quite tired…we’ll talk more about your responsibilities tomorrow.”
Luna and Gustav lifted from their seats and together with Mr. Scamander proceeded outside on the hallway where they met up with his wife. There was a loud thud somewhere on the upper floor and Mr. Scamander sighed, obviously being fully aware of what had caused that noise.
“Bloody statuette” a growling reverberated from the bottom of the stairs.
“Rolf, how many times have I told you not to swear inside?” Mrs. Scamander cried out while the figure of a young man appeared at the end of the staircase.
Luna eyed him impatiently. He was quite tall, had short dark hair, a pair of mesmerizing green eyes - a slightly darker tone than Harry’s - and thin lips, resembling quite much with his grandmother. He was lanky, with broad shoulders, but not all displeasing in appearance and Luna thought he was quite handsome, as his face features and his movements imprinted a certain elegance that could only be inborn.
“Luna this is my grandson, Rolf, who likes to wake up at 2 in the afternoon” Mr. Scamander joked.
“Rolf Scamander” the young man said after shaking hands with Gustav and then, as his eyes met the blue shade swirling in Luna’s, smiled. “It’s nice to meet you, Luna. What a beautiful name, indeed.”
“Thanks” she added shyly and he ran a hand through his black strands as though not finding another gesture to retrench the awkwardness that had risen between them.
“Grandma, can I have some err…breakfast?” he then asked while Luna and Gustav were heading upstairs accompanied by Mrs. Scamander.
“Breakfast…? We’re already serving lunch, darling…” she replied and Mr. Scamander laughed.
“It doesn’t really matter, does it? I could eat a cow now” Rolf said and Luna smirked.
A/N Thank you all for your kind reviews on my first chapter and I hope you have liked this one as well. Visit my meet the author thread on the Forums if you have any additional question. Thank you all!
Chapter 3: Pride and humbleness
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“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).
Chapter 4: Curiosity killed the cat
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"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."
The first week in the Scamander house had gone by particularly well for Luna, since she had spent all day long working and due to the lack of breaks – a routine she had draconically imposed herself, much to Mrs. Scamander’s surprise – she had hardly had time to think of just how much she missed her friends and family. She had spent every single minute in the office, making all sorts of annotations concerning the possible locations of the creatures that Mr. Scamander had talked about without even realizing the hours that had dripped, until common sense had banished her from the space confined by the four walls.
Her colleague, Gustav, would spend about the same amount of time working, but everyone could guess by now that he wasn’t actually suffering from homesick. Something else or better said someone, attracted and incited him to spend extra time in the office – even long after his work schedule had ended – a time he might as well have used in an utterly different manner. He could have ventured in the nearby forest to observe the wildlife or simply just go out in town, enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant, take a stroll around the clustered streets of Dorset. But no, Gustav had stayed inside, buckling down between those long tables filled with the tiniest of details and random sketches of magical creatures.
If one didn’t know him, one would have believed that he was merely trying to compete with Luna, but Mr. Scamander was no stranger to the eighteen year-old boy. In fact Gaspard Shingleton, Gustav’s father, and Newt were friends, and even if they hadn’t physically seen each other in years, due to their busy jobs, the old comrades still kept a vivid correspondence in which they would comment about the latest developments in the Wizarding World. Though their political views were in someway different, such contrasts had never deterred them from enjoying some rather acid comments that in the end could only bring laughter.
Gustav had often talked to Luna about his family and how “bonded” they were with the Scamanders and she had listened quietly, not making any de trop comments and would never talk unless it was strictly required. Newt Scamander appreciated her for her opportune silence and had often expressed his wish for his wife to have possessed such quality of the spirit. She was making some great improvements within the field she was studying and even if she hardly expressed it openly, she was feeling satisfied with her choice.
She had finally found a place where she could truly be herself… She would talk to Mr. Scamander about Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks and he would nod approvingly, instructing her on the steps that needed to be taken in order to establish an authentic campaign of research and discovery. She would write on her notepad every word that escaped his mouth and at night she would devour the annotations she had made all throughout the day, making plans and dreaming with her eyes wide open about those times when she and a trained team of researchers would set to Sweden and other Baltic lands, looking for the magical creature.
She would discover it one day, and she would become famous for it. Not that she needed or wanted to be in the spotlight – Merlin knew, she had always hated exaggerated attention – but such finding could hardly be deprived of the media frenzy.
She woke up that Saturday with those very thoughts in mind and as she proceeded to the lavatory to take a bath, she realized that it was weekend. What was she to do today? Mr. Scamander had strictly forbidden them to work in those days and had asked them to relax, instead of succumbing themselves between the uncountable files and sheets of paper that needed to be read and taken care of.
She grabbed some clean towels from an upper cabinet and let the water running, while she sat on the edge of the tub, silently contemplating the blossoming apples, hanging from the tree branches, which she could clearly see through the open windows. It was a hot day, that day, probably the hottest of that summer, but Luna didn’t seem to have taken notice of this fact. She removed her clothing and submersed her frail body beneath the water. She leaned her head onto the soft board and let her long hair fall onto her shoulders, slightly moistening the tips.
Only as she stayed in her bathroom, in the deafening silence of the morning, did she realize just how much she missed her friends. She had written a letter to both Ginny and Hermione a day before, asking the latter to set a date to go shopping for dresses. How she yearned to be there with them now, even if her work with Scamander was very much comforting and suiting to her taste.
And then, abruptly, without any prior knowledge as to why it had happened, she thought of Rolf. The grandson of the famous naturalist was commonly thought as being a wild child, extremely gifted with animals and possessing a rather sharp mind, but lazy as a slug and utterly rebellious. He could have worked alongside Luna and Gustav, but he strongly refused to do it, despite his grandfather’s persistent reprimands. Luna couldn’t quite conceive why Rolf completely dismissed any involvement with his family, particularly since she had heard her teacher complaining so many times on how he was wasting his talent with trifles. If he indeed had a flair for animals, then why was he so abrupt about it?
She had observed him all throughout the week and had made a fairly pertinent first impression about the young man. He was clever, given by the astuteness in which he would, sarcastically or not, respond to his grandfather whenever the latter would scorn him, but as spoiled as a six year old girl. He was used to boss people around – couldn’t stand being criticized – had a high opinion of himself – at least that was what he always let people believe – and a distorted judgment about what a young man like himself ought to do with his life.
Luna had wondered from the very day she had met him, why hadn’t Rolf attended Hogwarts like the rest of young wizards. The reason had been unveiled to her, a day prior to this morning’s events, and it seemed that as of his 11th birthday, Rolf had been home-schooled – a mistake that Mr. Scamander would never allow his son to commit again – as he had mentioned himself in one of their talks. And surely, if anyone of his family had known then, how very much spoiled he would become, they would have enrolled him immediately to Hogwarts.
Luna didn’t exactly know what to think of him, because they had seldom talked or even seen each other. The only moment of the day when they would get a better view of one another was at dinner when their gazes would unmistakably cross. She thought of him as being mysterious, in a way she had never considered a human being. Despite his flaunts and conceitedness, she felt that there was more to Rolf than what met the eye.
It wasn’t the first time that Luna had thought differently of a person than the rest of the world. If she remembered well, back in her forth year, she had seen more in Harry than the lunatic that everyone thought he was and with Rolf, things appeared to be the same. Nevertheless, she refrained herself from making any assumptions, but for those first impressions that could prove to be mistaken on a second glance. She would have more time to see if indeed there was more to Rolf Scamander than his last name.
She emerged from the tub after half an hour of reflections and as she headed towards the night stand to pick her wand she noticed an envelope on her bureau. She turned it around and recognized Ginny’s neat handwriting.
I was so very pleased to hear that you’re doing so well with your new job; I never doubted that you’ll make the right impression on Newt Scamander. I hope you’re not much of a homesick person, because I, myself, know just how difficult it is to stay away from your parents and family. Just so you know I’ve missed you every day since you’ve been gone and I can hardly wait for us to meet again, though I know that it will be a while until we get to do that.
As for myself, I have to say that I’m so very busy, planning the wedding and with my mother being as she is, well, it’s not the easy and fun job I though it would be. But Harry has been of great support and has spared me today of some gruesome three hours of stress, by accompanying my mother to Diagon Alley to make sure that the cake is going to be delivered at the exact day of our wedding and attend some other boring details that she seems to be so fond of lately.
There’s a constant ado around the Burrow these days, as we keep on having guests all day round, relatives, friends and people that Harry and I don’t even know. But it’s all good and fun, particularly since it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen my family so excited about something. Even George is looking forward to the wedding and has promised us a spectacular firework show, trademark Weasley & Weasley… Fleur and Bill stop by the house whenever Victoire allows them and let me tell you that they’ve done so much for Harry and I that, I believe, we will never be able to thank them enough.
Unfortunately, I have to put an end to my letter, as my mother and Harry have just come back and there are a million things that I’m supposed to do, like choosing the colour of the slip covers, making sure that the napkins match the invitations and foremost writing my vows – which is by far the most pressuring matter of all.
Harry and the rest of the family send you their best and are eager to see you at the wedding. I miss you!
Luna folded the paper smiling, and as she placed the piece of parchment into the envelope again, she looked outside the window. The sun was shining brighter than ever on the sky, the trees bended their branches to the ground, every once in a while leaning them onto the hot surface of the grey wall of the house, on account of the frail breeze coming from the sea. She decided that she was in much need of a walk and as she headed towards her closet, she took the envelope along, thinking that she should put it into the box along with her diaries.
Her clothes had never seemed more wearable than that day, all brightly coloured and gauzy, perfect for the hot sun that threatened to burn more intense than ever as the afternoon approached. She chose a short silky dress that covered little of her, yet not in an erotic sort of way. It appeared childish and playful in a way only Luna could make clothes look like as she wore them. She put the radish-like earrings on and on her way to the door she grabbed her wand, which, as usual, she tucked behind her ear.
She went downstairs, smiling to herself at noticing that the house was bathed in silence. Mr. and Mrs. Scamander were most probably enjoying that picnic in the forest like they had said they would, a night before, and Gustav most certainly had ventured outside, maybe in town, to taste some of the local dishes as he yearned to do ever since he had set foot in Dorset. She walked past the corridor that led to the office and, despite her habitual cravenness for work, she went on to the front door. She opened it with a determined movement and took a brief tour around the house.
The eastern part was most interestingly confined by an alcove embellished with abundant ivy strands and some little purple flowers that Luna had never seen. She walked through the bower, carefully stepping with her bare foot on the hot asphalt and headed forward guided by the melodious sound of water splashing onto rocks. She gaped as she noticed somewhere farther from where she stayed, a beautiful fountain, cast in marble stone and adorned with some tasteful figurines portraying little angels that poured water from their sparkling vessels.
On the marble edge of the fountain there laid a body which Luna immediately recognized as belonging to Rolf. He sat on his back, his face turned towards the hot sun, with his eyes closed and his chest barely moving with every intake of the irrespirable air. He wore a yellowy shirt, slightly opened at the neck and some kaki pants that he had ruffled up to his knee on account of the terribly arising temperatures.
Luna watched him, though he made no gesture, and as his saccadic chest movements repeated she suddenly thought that he was beautiful. She had no idea if she had really thought it, or if that mere impression had crossed her mind on account of the hotness. Regardless of what common sense would require in such times, she proceeded towards the fountain, indulging her mind with the excuse that she needed to refresh herself with some water. She walked slowly to where he was, tip-toeing, afraid to wake him in case he was indeed sleeping. She bent over him and stared at his flawless face, carved out of porcelain – or so it seemed at that moment.
He opened his eyes and let out a shout while she held back calmly.
“Luna…” he said, partly relieved that it was her. “You scared me!”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she replied slightly blushing. “I didn’t mean to…I just wanted to check if you were asleep or not.”
“Why?” he asked still staring bemused at her.
She appeared genuinely out of this world to him, like she had just fallen from the sky and was completely oblivious to what her surroundings implied. She didn’t fit in that garden, no more than he did, yet she had that certain wistful gaze that set her apart from any other human being that he had ever been in contact with. There was something about those precious blue eyes, staring back at him with the same amazement reflected in the iris, like in his, which made people want to know more about the secrets concealed behind their magic.
“If you were sleeping you would have got a nasty sunburn, eventually,” she responded, quite self-assured. “It would have been terrible, indeed.”
He lifted and then supported his back against one of the little figurines that fortunately still preserved the chillness of the water that they poured from their tiny vessels. She sat on the edge, sinking her thumbs in the cold water while his eyes watched her every move with such curiosity that Luna found it at some point annoying.
“So, how’s work?” he finally spoke, rather conversantly than out of mere inquisitiveness, for he would have rather spent the whole day watching her in silence. “I hope my grandfather is not giving you a rough time…”
“Oh no…I find him quite agreeable,” she replied, dreamily gazing at the sparkling sickles sitting beneath the water while her feet fidgeted producing tiny circles at the surface. “There are so many things that need to be done and so little time. But it’s very much challenging and fun…”
Rolf smirked and she turned her face around, their eyes suddenly meeting. “Why are there sickles on the bottom of the fountain?” she asked.
“Sickles and galleons” he replied while leaning forward to get a glimpse of the glittering coins. “Have you ever been to Italy?”
A rude observer would have simply declared their exchange of replies as an utter nonsense but in the midst of their apparently unrelated questions, both Rolf and Luna seemed to find their little discussion very much pleasing.
“No” she answered while making a mental note, thus adding Italy in her itinerary.
“It’s a beautiful country…I went there once with my grandfather to study more closely Abraxans” he said and Luna nodded. “He’s always wanted me to see what was worth seeing from the muggle world so he took me to Rome – that’s the capital. The main square of Rome has got this amazing fountain called Fontana di Trevi. People throw coins there for every wish they have, hoping it will come true and I was so astonished about that habit that I decided that every time I’d need something I’d come here, throw a sickle and…”
“And let it happen,” she continued his speech.
“Sort of…” he replied while staring again at those gleaming coins that had once represented his most fervent desires. “But none of those ever happened…they couldn’t have.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” she sighed and he stared at her inquiringly, “maybe they have come true, just that you didn’t notice…”
“Believe me, I would have taken notice if any of them had turned into reality,” he added mockingly in a way, but Luna didn’t seem to be bothered by that. “There are no proofs to sustain that they have…”
“I can’t seem to convey the need for proofs” she said. “There are things in life that don’t need evidence to acknowledge their existence like love, like friendship... like Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks. Here you have the best example!”
“Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks?” he asked, slightly taken aback by her instance. “Never heard of them…”
She stared at him incredulous but the shake of his head didn’t seem to imply that he was joking or pretending. “What are they? Some creatures, I suppose…”
“Right…People don’t believe they exist because no one has really seen one, but it’s just like with the Blibbering Humdinger…” Luna replied enthusiastically.
Rolf smirked as he had no idea of what she was talking about, but in a way he found that charming about her. Often, she chose to speak about the unlikeliest things in the world and – by the end of what would be the most chimerical conversation of one’s life – people would suddenly find themselves either charmed by her passion and deep-rotted convictions or completely averse towards her openness. Luckily, Rolf was one of those chat partners who found her notional theories quite worth listening to and at some point even plausible, even if the many names she would provide sounded in their etymology, phantasmagoric.
He watched her silently for a couple of minutes as she mumbled something about her unrelenting chase for those beats, whose name Rolf couldn’t quite remember now, and it seemed to him that there was something worth discovering in Luna. He suddenly remembered that night when after an annoying exchange of replies between him and his grandfather, he had gone to his room with the same fears invading his troubled heart.
And then as the moon had climbed onto the first quarter of the sky, he had stayed behind his window and had watched a scarf flying in the wind without any reaction on Luna’s part. That night’s event still haunted his days and at times even the nights, and moreover it determined him to look for her gaze at dinner and sometimes transitorily around the house – whenever she would please to get out of the office.
He hardly noticed when she ceased the talk and instead abandoned herself to the picturesque view reeling off before them. She stared blankly at the horizon line, hills blending with the rocky surface that bordered the sea side, letting her ears thrive with the barely audible sound of waves splashing onto the shore and her nostrils indulge with the salty smell of sea weed and oysters. A frisky breeze caressed her soft face and as it meddled with the blonde strands, causing her hair to vaguely flutter, he sighed. She was beautiful, not in a common way, but still enough as to take his breath away for a split second.
She shook her legs as she removed them from the fountain and then with a completely unexpected movement she stood astir, silently contemplating the little angel figurine on which Rolf leaned on. And then as his eyes met the dazzling blue in hers, she parted without even muttering a goodbye. He watched the wet print that her feet left on the hot asphalt as she walked over to the alcove, still completely astounded by her spontaneity that didn’t seem to follow any pattern, much to his inquisitiveness.
Everything about Luna was strange – in the good sense of the word – from the childish hopping that she performed right as he sat on the edge of the fountain, to her far-fetched convictions that she expressed too openly sometimes, to the peculiar gaze that could be attributed to the fact that she didn’t blink as much as any other human being…
His mind wanted him to get up and run after her, maybe even continue their talk or just stay in silence, but somehow his feet wouldn’t listen to what his thoughts commanded them to do. He stayed there until her slim figure disappeared behind the alcove, leaving footprints on the asphalt that were steadily beginning to dry in the hot sun, but most importantly, leaving a rather peculiar curiosity nesting inside his heart that motivated him once more to feel the need to know her, whoever she was for that matter.
He finally lifted and as he walked over to very place where she had disappeared from sight, he found one of her radish-like earrings that she had worn just a couple of minutes before. He picked it up, analyzing it inquiringly and then stuffed into his pocket.
He headed to the house hoping to get a glimpse of her to return the piece of jewelry that she had lost.
“Luna” he called as he entered through the main door, but there was no sound except for his own echo. “Luna” he shouted again, hoping that by increasing the volume she would take notice of it.
Again, no sound…just a blatting silence that wouldn’t have disturbed him on a regular basis. He headed straight to his bedroom thinking to himself that he would give it to her back at dinner. He opened the door of his room and deciding that there was a stiff atmosphere circling between the four walls, he pushed the windows aside to let some fresh air protrude inside. She saw her somewhere in the distance, near the forest, but still close enough for him to guess that indeed it was Luna.
She was talking to Gustav.
A/N A special thanks to jacqueline_noir, jkrowling_fan, xXLuna LovegoodXx, Jaime, Siriuslyinspired, CD Johnson(Craig), Padfoot36, crazy4fred2, chillychick95 and so many others who have written such wonderful reviews and have virtually made my day:D For more info on this story check my Meet the Author page because it's so lonely in there...:)) Hugs:X
Chapter 5: The trials of an untested heart
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“You can depend
Count it out and weigh it up again
You can be sure
You’ve reached the end
And still you don’t feel
Do you know you’re beautiful?”
The weekend had gone by quite fast for Luna, despite her initial assumptions that if she was bound to keep away from work, the hours would drip slower than on a regular basis. Saturday had been a normal day for her, but it would have seemed rather peculiar for the rest of people who neither thought nor saw the world like she did. The odd exchange of replies between she and Rolf hadn’t brought uncertainties to her, like it would to another person, but rather the security that he wasn’t as shallow as one would be inclined to believe on a first look.
He hadn’t mocked about expressing her views openly and such action, or better said lack of action, was a major plus for her. She didn’t like narrow-minded people and if she remembered well, she had long criticized Hermione for her lack of faith in her words, though admittedly not sustained by any kind of evidence. But Rolf had neither dismissed her convictions, nor shared them openly, which in a way intrigued Luna far more than she would have expected. Never, but really never, had anyone split his cogitation between faith and disavowal concerning her beliefs and it was of even more of a surprise that someone like Rolf could have ever done that.
He appeared, most of the time, as the cerebral type of person, who always analyzed the world on account of the facts and proofs that he received, so even contemplating and giving some second thoughts to this matter seemed utterly unimaginable. Yet Rolf, in his stubbornness and indulgence, could at least consider the idea and at one point even begin to believe in it, as implausible as it appeared on a first glance.
She had given some serious thinking to his words, to the way he had looked, to the way he had stared at her that day… everything about him had been utterly confusing in the hot Saturday afternoon when they had sat together on the edge of the fountain talking, but it was in this complete mystery that Luna found comfort. As the true Ravenclaw that she was, she had always found that beauty is reflected in what does not meet the eye, in what it is concealed for a rude observer and whenever she would come across such a situation, she would thrive because once more, her intellect was being subjected to the unpredictable. She hated having to settle to what others commanded and follow a designated path that one couldn’t possibly stray from…
That’s why she had never attended Divination, in spite of her colleagues’ jokes that had often bet that she and Professor Trelawney would make a match made in heaven. She had a deep respect for the teacher and for the art of guessing the future as well, believed in faith, but she did not wish to submit herself to its will.
It was because of her unrelenting desire to beat the odds (and her firm belief in good) that she had joined Dumbledore’s Army, instead of assuring a rather secure environment as one of Umbridge’s people, why she had fought in the Department of Mysteries at the end of her school year, why she had defied Snape and the Death Eaters all throughout her sixth year… why she had chosen to come and work for Newt Scamander instead of settling herself to a rather plain existence in Ottery St. Catchpole, where she could have helped her father run The Quibbler.
Luna and Rolf had seldom meet on Sunday, given that he had been away all day long and hadn’t even attended dinner, much to his grandmother’s contempt who barely got to see him, in spite of living in the same house as he did. He had gone to a party that night, accompanied by his childhood friends, as Mr. Scamander had commented upon his departure, and a pretty witch, as Gustav had joked later. And indeed he had spent all night partying with his friends, occasionally indulging his mouth with a stolen kiss from that young witch whose name he had mistaken the same night, when he had left her stylish flat. What a life he had…
The very Monday morning, following his reckless partying, he had woken up with a terrible headache, that seemed to extend its area with every passing minute or every sudden move. He went downstairs to ask his grandmother to fix him with one of her famous potions that would unmistakably amend his condition. As he descended the twelve steps sequence, he recalled the events of last night that evolved before his eyes with a dazzling speed. That girl…she had thrown him out of her flat after having mistaken her name. She had shouted and jinxed him…
“Rolf,” he heard a familiar name calling out for him. It was his grandfather who was stepping out of his office. “How are you?”
“Fine…” he mumbled while glancing through the open door, only to see Luna staring back at him. “I was just heading over to Grandma’s. Is there something you wish to tell me?”
“Yes, in fact. I’ve decided to do a little excursion to Scotland with my two assistants… to study wildlife, nothing really important. It will only take a week…” he spoke conversantly. “I was wondering if you’d like to come with us…”
Rolf glanced at Luna who was waiting patiently in the office and as their eyes met she smiled. She looked pretty, her hair hanging loosely on her shoulders, her face no longer flanked by the two radishes, but awkwardly emphasized by a peculiar choice of a necklace that at that point it appeared as if it had been made out of butterbeer corks.
“Of course,” he replied, still not fully aware of what he had just said.
His grandfather let out an exclamation of surprise and in a sudden uplifted mood, patted Rolf on the back in a very fatherly manner. Rolf felt his head pulsating in pain, but refrained himself from complaining as he usually did and instead smiled, not wanting to draw attention to the fact that he was suffering from a terrible condition, commonly known as a hang-over. He nodded sympathetically towards his grandfather’s surprised face and promised him that he would be done with the packing before two in the afternoon, which needless to say wasn’t a pertinent thing to ask, given that it was noon already.
Luna watched a very tired Rolf parting with Mr. Scamander and as the latter returned to the office, broad grinning, she turned her gaze towards the rough sketch of a Grindylow. The man approached his two students and sat between them, the same smile plastered to his lips as if he had just swallowed impressive amounts of Felix Felicis.
“Apparently we’re going to have another companion in our little field trip,” he spoke enthusiastically and Luna smiled.
“Who?” Gustav asked in his habitual chic manner that was so French-like.
“My grandson, Rolf” the man replied while erasing with the tip of his wand a thorn that Gustav had drawn on his Grindylow. “They are not triple-horned. Let me see yours, Luna.”
“I’m not sure about it,” she spoke shyly while handing him the paper.
“But it’s quite good in fact, Luna. Well done… I think you’re done for today; now go and pack your things for the trip. Don’t take anything unless it’s necessary,” he said as
Luna and Gustav lifted from the table, pushing the chairs aside and then picking up their extra material.
Luna had merely finished packing her clothes when she suddenly remembered that she was bound to leave her diaries behind. Of course, she would take her latest notebook, but bereaving herself of the other ones was simply unimaginable. She could slink them in her trunk, maybe even shrunk them and nobody would ever take notice of her peculiar habit. But then again, why would she need them?
She was going to be away for just one week and knowing Mr. Scamander, she doubted that she would even find some time to leaf through them as she usually did when she got bored or when missing her friends would take the invariable huge toll on her. She opened the big round and multicoloured box, where she had placed her confidants the day of her arrival, and suddenly felt odd in a way she had never felt like before. Maybe she was changing…maybe as the time would pass she wouldn’t be Luna anymore, the Luna who dragged her diaries along wherever she went to because it made her feel secure.
All of the sudden, she felt an acute anxiety taking over her heart, numbing her fingers, causing her heart to beat faster and her breath to accentuate, as though the air had suddenly become toxic. She pressed her left hand to her chest, trying to calm the racing pounding but at that point nothing seemed to help ease the panic attack. She couldn’t control her breathing, counting silently in her mind wasn’t in anyway aidful and instead would only amplify the exaggerated state of apprehension. Her big eyes stared blankly at the box.
Who was she? She was Luna Lovegood- strange, caring, friendly and clever. She was a Ravenclaw - no - she used to be a Ravenclaw.
By merely acknowledging that she was not a Ravenclaw anymore, she was actually certifying that indeed she had changed and that frightened her more than the moment when the Death Eaters had cornered the little group at the Ministry, in the Hall of Prophecies. She didn’t want to be like George Weasley - a young man who had only been left with a feeble memory of himself. He was not the prankster, she had once met, no longer the red-headed boy that played Quidditch and sold all sorts of magical items incognito. That boy was not George Weasley and people looked upon him in that manner. For all she knew, she didn’t want to walk on the street one day and see people, pointing at she-who-wasn’t-Luna Lovegood-anymore.
And then she thought of her friends, wondering if they felt the same anxiety like she did now. Were they just as frightened about changing as she was? Possibly not, she reasoned while noticing that her heart beat had in someway diminished and almost reached its normal rate. And then she realized that they were different, in fact, but that sure hadn’t prevented them from going on with their lives and it suddenly felt like it hadn’t made a difference in the way she looked at them either. Ginny was still Ginny, although slightly more mature and willing to bridle her instincts; Harry was still the boy she had met on the train ride, but certainly more confident about himself, his friend, Ron had done some growing up- no longer minding about being the Boy-Who-Lived’s best mate- but rather enjoying it yet still preserving some of the things that had characterized him in school while Hermione, as linear as she appeared sometimes, had indeed done some adjustments as well.
But maybe, the one who had suffered the greatest development was Neville.
Luna had seen Neville several times before Dumbledore’s Army and she had always looked at him with some sort of pity- not the disgraceful type, but rather the sympathizing- and had felt related to him. Later on, as they had got more acquainted, she had discovered just how similar they were in fact. Both were regarded as outcasts; she was banished from every group in Hogwarts on account of her ‘ludicrous’ ideas while Neville was the misfit from Gryffindor. He was shy, introvert, slightly faint-hearted and deadly clumsy and, it seemed, that neither of those were concurrent with the noble house of Godric Gryffindor, a house that valued bravery and that certain daredevil-ness which one couldn’t find in Neville at quick glance.
It was only later that he had certified his abilities, during his seventh year, when along with Ginny and Luna had tried to revive Dumbledore’s Army. The Neville that Luna knew today, was very much different from the plump boy that she had met in her forth year. He was self assured, tough and his clumsiness seemed to have died away that night when he had defied Voldemort.
She smiled as she realized that the panic had disappeared as soon as she had thought of her friends. How much she missed them, yet despite being so far away, they still had a great influence in her life. When their laughter resounded in her ears, even if it was merely their memory, when their beaming eyes would form at the back of her mind at times she needed most, she knew that fear was merely a state of the body that could be vanquished with a sincere smile. And smiling always came easily when she thought of them.
She dared to glance again at the box that preserved her whole life in and, all of the sudden, estranging from the diaries no longer appeared like an event worth getting concerned for. She could make it through the week, she could do anything she wished to as long as she had someone out there, in Ottery St. Catchpole or London that trusted her and missed her dearly. She had friends and a handful of other people who loved her and counted on her to stand up.
With a quick movement she closed the lid and pushed the box inside the closet again, without even giving it another glance. She was not a bunch of dotted words on a piece of paper…
Luna steadily dragged along a smaller trunk that Mrs. Scamander had lent her for the trip, downstairs, all the way murmuring to herself and mentally checking if she had packed everything that was necessary. She placed it on the floor, as soon as she reached the main lobby, and as she gazed up she noticed Rolf, quickly followed by Gustav descending the stairs together without even making the smallest of gestures towards each other.
Rolf looked like a genuine naturalist on a hunt for a fantastical being. He wore nothing too extravagant, but as usual, there was something about the manner in which he walked or even looked at Luna that imprinted elegance and poise in a way not even Gustav’s smart and completely inappropriate for the occasion outfit, could convey. Everything about Rolf was classy and august, from the way he curled his lips into a smirk, to his cocky, at times acid comments, to his tall figure and to the way in which his black hair fell onto his forehead. He had it in his pure blood and not even Gustav’s wastefully taste for fashion, or his alleged good looks could even rival to that.
Of course, Shingleton had his charm that could have broken quite a few hearts, but in Luna’s case, it did not seem to work properly…at least not with someone as intriguing and handsome in such a casual, yet distinctive manner like Rolf Scamander, nearby.
Gustav was a bit too stiff and one could easily classify him as a snob by mere looking at the way he had dressed for an expedition to Scotland. He wore a spotless white shirt that would unmistakably be blemished by the naughty mosquitoes that wandered around the main lands, the same type of trousers that would have made quite an impression in a ballroom and shiny black shoes that most certainly were going to make his journey a ride through hell.
Luna was oblivious to the conspicuous discrepancy between the two young men, as she seldom bothered to compare them in any way. Her eyes fixed Rolf for a brief second and as she heard Mr. Scamander’s voice resounding from the narrow corridor leading to the kitchen she turned her gaze towards her own trunk.
Porpentina Scamander looked better than ever and at the sight of her grandson lying in the middle of the lobby, with his trunk packed and showing off that adventurous look upon his face, she suddenly felt like crying. It had been years, since she had last had the chance of seeing her boys off for an expedition. Ever since Rolf had abruptly lost his interest in magical creatures at the age of 13, her husband had refused to initiate any other voyage and instead had succumbed himself in paperwork and teaching youngsters the noble art of magical zoology.
Today was indeed a day worth of celebrations, but not wanting to delay their departure any longer, she had indulged her heart with the thought that they would do it when the trip would reach its ending. For now, she just had to wait and hope that by the time they would come back to Dorset, her grandson would have regained his liking towards magical creatures and would want, once more, to aid his grandfather and why not, step into his shoes later on in life.
She hugged her husband and grandson then went on to Gustav and as she reached Luna, she pulled her in a tight clutch.
“You take good care of this young lady,” she spoke up and Mr. Scamander nodded. "She’s just a girl so don’t drag her into those reckless and most dangerous expeditions,” she went on and pointed her index finger towards every man, in turns, specifically lingering on Rolf, thus making Luna snigger.
“Yes Ma’am,” Mr. Scamander said.
The group of four emerged outside, silently accompanied by Mrs. Scamander and the three kneazles that seemed to have taken notice that there was some major event happening. Rolf offered to help Luna with her trunk but she politely refused, assuring him that it wasn’t at all heavy. He blushed vividly as he noticed that his grandmother was smiling at the sudden display of courtesy and instead of insisting on the matter, like a regular gentleman would have done, he proceeded forward still feeling slightly embarrassed for being caught off-guard.
Luna smiled to herself at the sight of his cheeks gaining a scarlet complexion but as soon as she felt the same heat reaching her face, she decided that it would be better if she just didn’t look at Mrs. Scamander at all and just focus on dragging her incredibly heavy trunk along. She sure should have accepted Rolf’s proposal.
The means through which the group was supposed to reach Scotland was Portkey, which in this case was represented by a nice little pot that Porpentina had so kindly lent to her husband. Luna found herself gazing at the golden sparkling brim of the pot and remembered that night at the Ministry when they had been transported back to Hogwarts. Dumbledore had then cast a portus spell on the head of a statue and along with an aggrieved Harry and the rest of their wounded friends she had left the Atrium and later had woken up in the Hospital Wing under the careful eye of Madam Pomfrey.
“At the count of three” Mr. Scamander said and then grabbed his wand. “One, two… three”
She landed on a rocky surface and for a split second she felt like she had been wounded by the sudden fall, but as she lifted her blouse to check if indeed there were any gashes on her back, she surprisingly noticed that she bore not even a tiny bruise. Rolf was stretched across the flossy green grass, followed by Gustav who was struggling to get to his senses and Mr. Scamander who appeared to have enjoyed the trip far more than his trainees. Luna lifted from the ground and as she looked around she sighed.
Scotland was beautiful indeed, just like she remembered it. It seemed that they had landed into some sort of valley protected by some high mountains that stretched everywhere you’d lay your eyes on. She noticed a forest somewhere near them and a lake before them, maybe a mile’s walking distance from where they stood. She bent forward and picked up a little white flower which she instantly recognized as being a dahlia. She loved them- perfect for their significance yet utterly faulty in their littleness. She put it behind her ear, where she would normally place her wand and turned around to face the still confused male members of her campaign.
Rolf had already picked his trunk and slowly had started to gain awareness of the surroundings, while Gustav was barely beginning to steady himself in order to lift from the ground. Mr. Scamander helped him get up and as he stood astir, Luna noticed a big blemish stretching all over his expensive trousers and neat coat. She sniggered and Rolf gestured sympathetically while eagerly rushing to point to Gustav that he had better trade the clothes he was wearing for something less fancy.
She shivered as the rather chilly wind that always seemed to bate around Scotland, pierced through the thin layers of clothing that she was wearing. She rummaged through her trunk and took out a long knitted cardigan to keep her warm, despite the fact that it didn’t cover her long thin legs that she showed off in a flirty manner beneath the middle length vaporous dress.
Mr. Scamander opened his own trunk and took out a folded rag, or at least that was what it appeared to be. Rolf picked it by one corner and Luna rushed to help them, since Gustav was not yet capable of providing anything but annoyance. Together they put up two tents, one in which the men were to sleep and another one for Luna to enjoy on her own, despite her persistent pleas that they shouldn’t have bothered to grant her so much comfort.
Nevertheless, she accepted it thankfully and as the afternoon suddenly seemed to be fading away she entered her tent, eager to unpack and settle to the place that was to be her home for the next week.
Later that night, Mr. Scamander put up a fire and they all sat for dinner, engaging one another into vivid conversations regarding the wildlife in Scotland, while Luna would casually meddle something about Heliopaths and how Fudge had almost managed to rule the wizarding world by commanding such an army, which needless to say produced cracks of laughter from Gustav and aroused Rolf’s interest in her more than that awkward scene by the fountain had already done it.
She found her a truly delightful woman, quite attractive and possessing something more than just a knack for beautifying charms and spells, like did the witches he had often dated. She was clever, in a strange sort of way, but that didn’t diminish her capacities as a witch - on the contrary it only amplified them, because she could see the world differently than others.
Luna was calm, dreamy in her own sort of way and rather taciturn, which could only increase the mystery that surrounded those bulging blue eyes whose black pupil seemed to emphasize the depth of her secrecy nature. She was not prone to reveal anything but the obvious, yet there was something about her gaze that let Rolf know that she yearned to tell so much more than what her own conscience allowed.
He looked at her from across the scarlet flames of the fire, as she tried to pierce with her eyes the depth of the dark forest that lay ahead of them. She appeared to be lost in thoughts, which was not peculiar of her, but on that precise moment she genuinely seemed to have ceased any contact with her surroundings and instead had traveled in mind somewhere far away, where Gustav’s little chat with his grandfather was not audible, where she could no longer seize his eyes contemplating her in the yellow light provided by the fire.
He was thankful that she could so easily detach herself from the environment and let her thoughts carry her wherever they pleased, thus allowing him to indulge his eyes with the pleasant sight of her lips pouting pensively, of her dirty blonde hair whose fluttering in the calm breeze made his heart pound faster.
He was curious, in a way he had never been before about anything or anyone, which both confused and assured him. This blend of contradictory feelings was as troubling for Rolf, as the sight of the fluttering scarf that she had never gained back, or the brusque manner in which she had left him alone by the fountain that day, or the radish earring that still rested into his pocket, or the enjoyable talk that he had witnessed from the intimacy of his room between Luna and Gustav, were. What was it to this woman that attracted him so much?
He guessed that it had to do with the aura of secrecy that always seemed to convey her. He had always been the type of man who made even the toughest of women open up and by any means that would imply losing his interest as soon as it had hit him. He never bothered to settle for the hard-ones. He lacked the attention span for doing such thing and instead he took delight in mesmerizing the many opportunists that crossed his way- women whom he would dump later without any remorse, because they certainly deserved it.
But Luna was different and as he silently watched her, he thought that maybe it was time he tried a hard-one.
Luna had been sleeping for quite some time when she all of the sudden felt some fingers pushing her shoulders. She opened her eyes, turned around but in the darkness of the night she could barely see three inches before her. She picked her wand from the night stand and mumbled “Lumos”.
The tip of the wand ignited producing a rather impertinent source of lighting and as she pointed in the direction of the swish sound she noticed Rolf kneeled in front of her bed. She sighed at the sight of his beaming eyes vividly contrasting with the opacity of the night.
“Rolf,” she said, half sleeping half awoken. “Did something happen?”
“I’m sorry for having woken you up,” he replied as she stood up, supporting her back on the fluffy pillow. “Nothing happened…I just wanted to show you something.”
“What?” she asked still confused about the reason why she was receiving such a late visit.
“It’s a surprise,” he responded charmingly and then extended his arm, inviting her to take it. “Do you trust me?”
She stared at him for a couple of seconds not knowing what to say or more like it what to do. A part of her was utterly dismissive about accompanying him while the other one begged her to accept his hand and let Rolf take her wherever he pleased. But was he truly reliable? Could she trust his shimmering eyes and that yet to be named feeling that she had every time their gazes met?
“Luna…” he echoed. “Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” she replied and as he clutched her hand she lifted from the bed, dragging the blanket along.
A/N Thank you all for your wonderful reviews and the support you've showed so far. I adore you guys! This is a little filler with a nice little cliffhanger at the end, but I promise you that the next chapter will have a long Rolf-Luna interaction scene:D Oh and you get cookies if you guess what name Rolf called that girl!!!
Thank you again!
Chapter 6: Coup de foudre
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“Every beginning is a consequence - every beginning ends something.”
Despite persistently tucking herself under the blanket, the chillness still pierced every inch of her body as he dragged her along the narrow path leading to a dark forest. She clutched fiercer to his hand while steadily moving along with him, every once in a while looking behind them to see if anyone had noticed their departure. The base camp seemed to be far away now that they prepared to venture into the dark forest, which was succumbed in a peculiar and lugubrious silence that not even the creatures of the night dared to disturb.
The only audible sound was produced by their feet as they touched the ground, crushing some sticks that had been resting on the soft soil until their peaceful existence had been interrupted by their stampeding.
She was holding her breath, though at no time such a thing had been required. The forest was a couple of feet away from them but one could only seethe first trees and some of their branches, for the depth could not be perceived so easily due to the murkiness that seemed to have narcotized the habitual vividness of the surroundings. Luna felt a chill running down on her spine but she knew that it was not on account of the chilly wind that had just started to blow, nor the numbness that pierced her bare feet.
Rolf stopped inches away from the entrance of the forest and looked at her to see if she was alright. At noticing her dazzled eyes, he smiled and assured her that there was nothing to worry about. He held her hand again and for the first time since she had left her bed, she felt secure. Together they entered the darkness of the forest, and before Gustav emerged from his tent they were out of sight.
The leaves caressed her bare shoulders as she proceeded forward, following her silent companion. They didn’t speak but at that point it seemed de trop to do so, for their voices could not express what was requisite to be highlighted. There was a battle going on in Luna’s mind, caused by the powerful beating of her heart as Rolf looked into her eyes and the steady shaking of her hand as she clutched fiercer to his. She could barely find the strength to walk and sometimes she would feel like choking with air.
She silently recalled the recent events of that day: Rolf watching her through the creak of the door, the coloured box that all of a sudden had lost its essentialness, and the same pain throbbing in her chest that had choked her at the mere acknowledging of this fact. She couldn’t quite remember the look upon his face as she had smiled at him that morning, but there were fragments of that sighting that she could vividly emblazon in her mind.
She saw the green iris of his big eyes, sparkling in the pale light coming through the open door; the black hair that always looked as if he hadn’t combed it recently, yet still looked remarkably effortless and chic, and his hand grabbing hers in the midnight mist surrounding their camp.
Rolf looked up at the silver moon that was gazing down upon them as they walked along the narrow path, leading to a place he only knew. There was something between him and the celestial entity, that type of bond created by complicity and the concealment of a secret that he was about to reveal to a third party. He was betraying her…and as he determinedly headed towards the core of the forest, the moon followed each and every one of their steps with such jealousy and outright disappointment; at least that’s how it appeared to Rolf. He was giving their precious secret to a mortal, without even bothering to investigate whether she was worthy of it or not, whether she would wish to keep it the secret as they had done for countless years.
He sighed, realising that indeed he had never shown that place to anybody because no one had ever gained that privilege. But with Luna, everything was different… he was different by merely losing himself in the depths of her enchanting blue orbs. She was true, pure and utterly indulging as a presence in a way he had never thought a person could be. He shook his head, not wanting to drift again into that haunting contemplation like he always did when her name would cross his thoughts. Instead of allowing his reasoning to take over his mind, he proceeded forward without even looking at her. She walked by his side with such elegance and amazement imprinted on her look that it proved impossible for Rolf not to lose track of his feelings again.
She gazed down at her feet and silently hummed something to herself as she watched the soft grass being crushed between her toes. Then, without even realising why she had been afraid to do so, she dared to look at Rolf. He was as absorbed by the contemplation of his walk as she was, and Luna gaped at the sight of his half face, glistening majestically in the silver light provided by the moon. His silence spoke to her of dreams and a magic way beyond one which she could perform with such facility. His lips did not move but she heard words that at first appeared random, then as her eyes focused on his cadent chest movements, she started making sense of them.
He said ‘fear’ and she understood it, because she felt it as well; it was the fear of growing, of losing oneself in everyday. Rolf spoke of ‘change’ and she knew what he had intended. Change frightened her because it meant that she would no longer be herself, that he would no longer be himself by the time the sun would cast the moon away from the sky and take its rightful place.
She had known that, even when she had trusted her hand to him barely a couple of minutes prior to this, but although terribly daunted by the feasibility of her, his, alteration, she had done it with such easiness, like the blink of an eye. It had happened - so natural, without the least of struggle. But as the dawn of a new day would approach, she knew that the easiness that had brought about the tangling of their hands would transform into a crux.
They seemed to have reached their destination, but with the many queries troubling her mind, Luna hardly realised when Rolf stopped, thus managing to cease her walk as well. She had been immobile for a couple of seconds, but with her mind being far from requiring a rest, she hadn’t even acknowledged that their journey through the forest had reached its terminus point. She glanced around but did not see anything eye-catching except for a flourishing green bush that, apart from its size, didn’t really stand out much. She stared at Rolf, bemused, and as he turned around to face her, she smiled.
“What is this?” she asked as she let go of his hand.
“Shhh…” he replied, while placing his index finger on his lips in a very erotic manner. “You shall know soon. Close your eyes…”
She smiled, feeling excited about the surprise or whatever the closing of her eyes implied, and abandoned herself to his trustworthy hand that was supposed to guide her. She stepped clumsily on the soil, at one point turning left, though she could not assure that, and after walking a couple of feet’s distance, they stopped. He asked her not to open her eyes yet and then helped her sit down. He took a place next to her and wrapped his arm around her tiny waist.
“Now you can open your eyes,” he whispered into her ear and she performed the action in a child-like manner that amused him.
The surroundings were still as dark as Luna remembered them to be, but for the surface of the little pond that glistened in the pale light of the moon. It still watched them from above. Then she saw the unicorns…they were so white that they sparkled through the opacity of the night. She felt like she had ceased breathing for a split second on account of their beauty.
There were two of them, a couple, as one could tell easily by the discrepancies between the two animals: one was taller, while the other one appeared to be more fragile and even feminine at one point. She watched them silently, her eyes growing bigger with each movement the animals made, and her heart racing faster in her chest, betraying her habitual state of self-control. One could not maintain posture at the sight of these fantastic creatures.
They were the epitome of purity, of love, of everything that she had fought so hard to protect in the war. They were that ounce of hope that made people want to goon, despite the fears that seized their souls, regardless of their knowledge.
“Oh, Rolf…” she murmured, keeping her gaze firmly fixed on them. “They are so beautiful. How did you…?”
“Know…?” he continued her question and she nodded. “They’ve always been here, ever since I was a child. My grandfather took me to these very lands as a boy on various occasions. One night I escaped from the tent and ventured inside the forest hoping to find a dragon, but I came across the unicorns. Needless to say that I was more excited about them than the sight of a dragon could have ever made me feel.”
“I’ve never seen one up so close,” she echoed, as she stared bemused at the two unicorns that apparently were sharing quite a tranquil moment.
“Go and touch them,” he said. “They like women.”
She turned her face around and looked into his green eyes trying to figure out whether he had really meant what he had just said. He nodded and as she lifted herself from the ground she dropped the blanket that covered her tiny body. She stepped forward, steadily approaching the unicorns and in spite of the coldness she didn’t shiver, for the happiness in her heart made up for the lack of proper clothing.
He watched her walking towards the lake, then submerging her bare feet in what should have been icy water and as she extended her arm to pat the unicorn, he sighed. The animal bent his head, allowing her to cup it between her small hands and as she felt the softness of its long hair, meddling with her fingers, she smiled.
It had been a good idea to bring her here, he thought, as she turned around to wave at him while the unicorn licked her other hand. She appeared genuinely angelic, wearing that short night gown that covered so little of her, her hair falling on her shoulders, her bare feet sinking in the black water and her eyes sparkling magically in the moonlight. How could something so beautiful walk on the face of the earth, he asked himself. This time, he definitely wasn’t thinking of the unicorns.
His heart started pounding faster; his lungs had long ceased functioning properly. He stared at her over and over again without even bothering to blink, afraid that he might lose something relevant, like a smile, like the fluttering of her lashes or the elegant manner in which her feet made circles on the surface of the water. How could Luna, with her fascinating oddness, put a spell on his heart without using a wand or an incantation? He knew she had charmed him in such a profound manner that merely walking would seem different from that moment on.
He was still Rolf Scamander, of that he was certain, but at the same time he felt something new nesting inside of him…something he had never felt before but, regardless of its novelty, which on a regular basis would have frightened him, it made him capable of sentience. He knew everything, yet nothing about her, and the more he steeped into her universe, the more he felt less and less attracted by what he was leaving behind. He could never again return to his prior-to-this-moment futile existence which had often implied long parties in the company of his many friends, some bottles of fire-whiskey and the intoxicant perfume of a young lady whose presence had never truly liberated him.
Luna patted the female unicorn on the neck again and then, deciding that it was time she allowed them to enjoy a peaceful night, she whispered a goodbye that only she could hear and headed towards the place where Rolf was waiting. She looked at those hands that had touched the purity of their flesh and felt them warm in a strange, yet pleasant sort of way.
Those were the same hands that had closed Colin Creevy’s eyes before Neville Longbottom and Oliver Wood had pulled his corpse into the Great Hall that had comforted Ginny when Fred had died, that had wrapped Harry in a clutch after he had finished Voldemort off. Those hands were the ones that had sealed every major change in her life: her mother’s death, the day she had first opened the door of her Ravenclaw dormitory, the battle at the Department of Mysteries, the battle at the Tower only a year later, the victory succeeding that night in May, and finally, the last time she had walked into the Great Hall as a student.
She approached Rolf and sat next to him, carefully tucking both hands beneath the fluffy blanket that she had abandoned on the ground only minutes before.
“Thank you,” she said as their gazes met. “It was…wonderful.”
“No problem,” he whispered in a very casual manner. “They are by far the most interesting magical creatures. Even Muggles find them mesmerising; I’m sorry that they can’t see them.”
“I had never seen or touched one before…”
“Not even at Hogwarts? I find it hard to believe that they are not in the curriculum.”
“Oh…” she chuckled. “But they are, just that our teacher is…let’s say, a bit eccentric. He would rather teach the students about Blast-Ended Skrewts and Acromantulas than about unicorns…” she trailed off, her eyes slightly glazed over in thought.
“Right,” he said, eyeing her curiously. “It’s a pity that you didn’t see their babies… when I was twelve they had a foal following their every move.”
“I hear they are gold…”
“Yes indeed, they are. One of the cutest sights I have ever witnessed. It’s hard not to like them, as abrupt and serious as one might be. They’re adorable,” Rolf explained and Luna smiled. “I couldn’t imagine why people would try to hurt them…”
“Voldemort killed one,” she spoke bitterly, whilst lovingly eyeing the couple of unicorns. “Harry told me he’s seen one dying.”
“Harry?” he asked. “Harry Potter?”
“Yes… the Boy-Who-Lived,” she admitted while blushing. “I went to school with him…and we’ve been friends ever since my forth year. Do you know him?”
“No…” he replied. “The world surely owes him quite a lot.”
Luna smiled. She had never thought of Harry in that manner. Of course, he had saved the world, had vanquished Voldemort when no-one else could have done so, but to her he had always been that shy, introvert boy who had searched for assurance in her words.
“Did you fight that night?” he asked, thus breaking the silence. “That night… when Voldemort attacked Hogwarts…”
“I did,” she replied pensively. “It was rather horrible but in the end it was worth it. I lost friends, good friends that night…people who had a whole life ahead of them, but who chose to grant us the opportunity to grow old.”
She spoke, in a resigned manner, about their loss, about the sadness and the happiness that had filled their hearts that night, about the days following the battle when they had silently buried so many of their friends. She bitterly remembered Fred Weasley, Professor Lupin and his wife, Nymphadora, who left behind an orphan child, Colin Creevey who had died too young as well as many other fellow students, friends and acquaintances who hadn’t stood a chance against the experienced Death Eaters. Rolf listened to her sad recollection of people whom he hadn’t known but towards whom he felt grateful, because on account of their sacrifice the world was free again.
He didn’t understand her loss, because nobody from his family had been afflicted by the war, but he knew it had taken quite a toll on her; he could still see the pain shadowing the sparkle in her eyes, no matter how much she tried to cover it. It glistened in the blue shade of the iris and it didn’t matter the casual manner in which she would respond to his questions, for they both knew that such aching could not be bedighted by a self-assured tone of voice. It hurt and it would always burden her soul, for the memory of that night could not be erased, no matter how many years would eventually pass.
She now realised that it still aggrieved her, even if the events of that second day of May were just a horrible memory, one that she would never manage to estrange from the back of her mind. It accompanied her everywhere she went to, sometimes ailing and staining her happiness, but most of the time it was bringing along gratefulness and a deep sense of esteem for all those who had perished. It was part of her and she didn’t wish to wipe it away – as grievous as it was –because by merely bereaving of such feeling she rescinded her entire existence. She was a survivor – it defined her, it made her who she was today – she was that someone for whom friends had died.
“I’m sorry,” he concluded upon hearing her story. “I’ve never watched a person die…”
“It’s truly tragic,” she spoke conversantly, with a certain bitterness wavering in her voice. “But you learn to value life more after witnessing such events. I learned that from an early age, when my mother died.”
Rolf gazed at her, confused as he always seemed to be when Luna made yet another of her confidences. She was open about all the horrific things she had been through in life, acknowledging her pain and sturdiness to fight against it, while fixing her blue eyes towards an immobile object in the distance, thus being able to tell it without further implication on her behalf. She had a peculiar – that certainly was the word that defined her – manner to distance herself from her retelling, hoping to give the audience a candid side of the events, even if she had been directly involved.
She did not refrain from stating her views and impressions, but what would cause her to cry in her intimacy, barely managed to flutter the beam in her eyes now. She was sad and aggrieved by what had happened to her in the past years, she would state that indeed they had taken a huge toll on her, but she would never show it. And perhaps, that was what truly differentiated her from the rest of the people whom Rolf knew, what made her unique and special. One couldn’t guess Luna by merely looking at her.
“Oh…” he mumbled not knowing what would sound appropriate at that time. “I didn’t know…”
“Don’t worry about it. It happened quite a while ago now. I was only nine,” she replied, absentmindedly, though certainly feeling like her mother’s death was just as present in her heart as were those of her friends. “Do you reckon we’ll see some dragons tomorrow?”
Luna had changed the subject and that could only bring some relief to Rolf, because he had never been the type to comfort people in such situations. He could hardly find his words to sooth his grandmother when her favourite plant died, so he knew that finding the proper manner of addressing someone who had lost so much would not come easily either.
“I hope we do,” he replied. “I haven’t seen one in years…”
She looked into his eyes, trying to find the answer for a question that had troubled her ever since their meeting, but while hers always reflected her true heart, his iris was just as mysterious as his sudden estranging from the field that allegedly he had loved as a child. He stared back at her, wishing she blinked, so that he could take advantage of it and kiss her rosy lips but deep inside he knew she wouldn’t do it. She rarely did such thing.
“I think it’s time we headed back to the camp site,” she said, glancing around at their surroundings once more. Rolf nodded in agreement, lost in his own thoughts, yet still managing to keep a close eye on Luna.
They lifted themselves from the ground, and after waving at the unicorns they proceeded to walk purposefully towards the path that was supposed to lead them back to their tents. As they reached the blossoming bush they both realised that something had changed in them, in their hearts, in the way they perceived the world. Its cared them, but somewhere, deep inside, they nurtured the excitement of a new beginning… for this was certainly the beginning of something.
A/N Hello! Thank you so much for being a part of this story for so long… Thanks to your wonderful reviews my writing has improved very much and I believe that, in part, due to you, to your support, I’ve been made a Trusted Author. So thank you for being there for me! Now, I’ve got a few people I’d love to mention.
Firstly, my incredible, wonderful, fabulous Beta, xXLuna_LovegoodXx, who has done a great job with this chapter and will surely do the same with the following ones.
Then, Jacqueline_noir, Mahalia(rozen_maiden), obviously394, evie_doherty, shadowycorner, jkrowling_fan, CD_Johnson(Craig), Jaime, Ydnas Odell, dianap00, PixiePower, ButterflyRogue but also to all the other reviewers and people who have fav’ed my story. I love you all!!!!!
Chapter 7: Jealousy
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“Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savour, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening.”
Luna had woken the following morning with such confusion nesting in her heart as she had never felt before because even for her taste, the previous night had been rather peculiar. She had always been the type that did not look for answers in the obvious, but rather enjoyed speculating in what was not easily revealed. As she opened her eyes and her thoughts started pressuring her mind, she suddenly wished she could know all immediately. She thought and thought about the events of that night, but today nothing felt easy; she couldn’t possibly understand Rolf’s sudden interest in her for she had not looked for his attention in the first place.
She didn’t mind being the object of someone’s questioning reason, but she knew that Rolf Scamander was surely not the type of person to fall for a girl like her. He was handsome, famous and could be quite the heart-breaker, so Rolf gaining a liking for her was rather strange, even for Luna, who, despite what people had said about her along the years, still thought of herself as being a regular human being. She did not see a true beauty in herself, but certainly didn’t believe that she was ugly either.
She thought of herself as being rather plain in appearance, quite the usual for an eighteen year old girl, and this mere knowledge made her feel good, for she would have rather stood out due to her wits than to her physical features. If she barely bothered about such trivial matters such as a nice face, or a goddess’s body, then Rolf was probably the one person who first took notice of these, completely ignoring the brains issue; and Luna knew perfectly well that such flimsiness was hardly to her liking.
But there was something about that dark haired young man with deep green eyes and flirty attitude that made her heart skip a beat, despite the fact that her mind constantly alerted her that such thoughts of him should be cast aside immediately. She had not come here to fall in love with a man whom she would have never fallen in love in the first place; of course she liked him, it was only appropriate of her to feel such thing, as Rolf was Mr. Scamander’s grandson, and developing an outright dislike for him would prove to be a wrong move for they were bound to live in the same house for quite some time, but was it really a matter of courtesy?
She indulged her mind into believing that indeed her interest in Rolf was provided by common sense and education, but one could easily tell by merely looking at her facial expressions when their eyes met that her feelings were grounded on affection, rather than the casualness of their situation.
Luna had never been the one to alleviate her mind in denials, but then again she had never been at all attracted by a boy, nor been the object of one’s attention. She was as oblivious to these matters of the heart as Muggles were about the Wizarding World. For them, ignorance was blissful, but the Ravenclaw in Luna did not even conceive such fault of the mind.
She had been brought up believing that ‘wit without measure is man’s greatest treasure’, so taking delight in this situation and allowing things to happen without any intervention on her behalf was unacceptable. She could think, and Merlin knew that she had been more than gifted on this regard, but when Rolf looked at her in that so peculiar manner, she suddenly felt like reason had no right to interfere with her mind, or her heart or whatever it was supposed to black out with its persistent questioning.
She rose from her bed and glanced at the clock residing on the desk, only to notice that she had hardly slept. It was six in the morning. She gazed around, looking for her wand, and as she realised that she was still in her tent, she sighed. A part of her wished she had come back to the Scamander house where she could bury herself in contumelious amounts of paperwork, without even seeing Rolf for a whole day because he would spend his time in the company of his popular friends. And then, she would feel more like herself again, she would cease her queries about whether she had changed so little in just one night, while the memory of his hand printed on hers would no longer make her feel so weak and ignorant.
She silently recalled the events of that night while washing her face in front of the hanging mirror. Rolf had taken her to see unicorns; she remembered the look upon his face as she illuminated the tent to see who had awoken her, his hand reaching out for hers while asking her to trust him, the chillness of the night, the dirty path that they had faithfully pursued through the depth of the forest and the little pond where she had seen the unicorn’s reflection.
She had touched them, had ran her long fingers through the white strands of hair that reminded her so much of her mother’s. And then she had spoken to him of things that she would talk about in any given circumstance, regardless of the audience, but he sure was no regular conversation partner.
She glanced at her reflection in the mirror and smiled at realising that she still looked like the Luna she knew, despite sharing the concern that maybe the inner side of her was different. How should she behave today? Deciding not to trouble herself with such difficult question, she headed towards her trunk to pick an outfit for that day, which was bound to alienate her for a brief time from the many questions that kept on forming in her head.
She settled for a pair of jeans, a white t-shirt and the flat shoes she had worn on her graduation day. She pulled her hair in a Chinese bun, using her wand to secure it, as per usual, and reckoning that it was still chilly outside, she grabbed a purple knitted cardigan and without bothering to check her appearance in the mirror, she emerged from her tent, only to notice Gustav and Mr. Scamander in front of the fire, enjoying breakfast.
Rolf was still in his room, even if he had long woken up - or better said, even if he hadn’t been able to put his eyes together all throughout the night. He lay in his bed, tucked beneath the blanket, where his grandfather’s eyes couldn’t possibly notice that he was wide awake and ready to head off to wherever he had planned to go that day. He had heard Gustav and his grandfather emerging from the tent only minutes before, so, content that he didn’t have to leave the cosiness and security provided by his favourite pillow yet, he dared to look up and reach for his trousers. He rummaged through the pockets, trying to find Luna’s earring, the one she had allegedly lost that day when he had discovered the mystery confined in her blue eyes as they had watched him across the fountain.
He analyzed it carefully, taking care not to break it and then fondly clutched it into his palm, in the exact place where her hand had rested the night before. He opened his fist, revealing the radish-like jewel. It was strange, albeit childish and playful. It was like Luna, frank and utterly unpredictable, yet forever charming and challenging. How could a human being encapsulate so many discrepancies and still preserve the balance that Luna never seemed to lose, no matter how the events unfolded, despite their unforeseeable character. She was the unknown quantity that threatened to blot out the entire mathematical equation in which his life had transformed.
He lived by certain rules, imposed by his own cogitation; rules that he could not abate from for fear that it might disrupt the natural order of his universe. He liked having a general outline that he had drawn himself, because it made him feel free, even though he knew that he was merely taking delight in a sweet obliviousness; by merely bearing the name Rolf Scamander he could never truly be liberated. He thought of her again, like he always seemed to be doing ever since that night when he had watched her from the intimacy of his room, thus invading her own, when he had silently seen the fluttering scarf estranging from her, bringing about both easiness and that melancholia that he had guessed at the sight of her gleeful eyes.
But as the mere memory of that night pierced his thoughts again, he wondered why she intrigued him in such manner as to allow himself to occupy his mind so often with the recollection of her face. He admitted that he liked her, more than just in a friendly way, but at the same time the acknowledgment of this issue troubled him. If one would have told him a month prior to their meeting that he would gain a peculiar and intoxicant interest in a girl like Luna, he would have laughed and mocked endlessly. He, Rolf Scamander, interested in her?
But now that he had met her, that he had dwelled on several enigmatic events in which she had played the leading role, he couldn’t even make a grimace to resemble a smile. He was hardly the man that he had seen reflecting in the mirror just yesterday; a week seemed like a fair amount time to allow drastic changes of behaviour and character, so the question lingering on the back of his mind was that if after the days and nights that had elapsed since their meeting, could he still be Rolf Scamander?
The radish earring still rested on his palm, and as he watched it glittering in the purple light of the morning, he wondered why he hadn’t returned it to her just yet. He could have done it the night before, when he had taken her to see the unicorns. He could have reached for his pocket, taken the earring out, given it back to her as she sat tucked in her blanket and she would have thanked him. She would have smiled, in that so delightful manner, and he would have cocked his eye brow fancifully, pretending that the action of preserving the piece of jewellery had been a mere trifle. But he hadn’t done any of those, and keeping the earring had most certainly been by far a challenging task.
Nevertheless, he reckoned that he shouldn’t bother his heart and mind with “what if”, and instead of pursuing the line of cogitation that Luna’s attitude would always manage to knit around his mind, like a spider’s web, he decided that it was far better to leave his bed and join Gustav and his grandfather outside. He placed the earring in the same pocket where it had resided ever since the finding, and as he rose from the bed he gazed up at the clock to see what time it was.
“Seven,” he whispered to himself as his feet touched the floor. He looked around, hoping to find his trunk, though he could hardly remember where he had placed it upon his settling in.
He noticed Gustav’s bed was neatly arranged, the sheets covered by a red blanket and the elegant manner in which he had placed the pillows upon it made him smile in a mocking sort of way. Gustav and he had grown up together, but they had hardly got along well. Their relationship was rather odd at some points, for they could neither be called friends nor enemies.
There had always been some sort of a rivalry between the two, even from infancy, and apparently the competition was far from being over as they had reached adolescence, and now early adulthood. In fact, one could easily notice the degree of apathy between Rolf and Gustav by merely looking at them; they were aboveboard about their differences and any occasions for them to show just how skilled one was and how inapt the other appeared was more than welcomed.
Their grandfathers’ friendship had not managed to indemnify the two young men for their lack of joint views. They were different and were not prone to camouflage it; on the contrary, they made it obvious even in times where there was no need to rival.
Rolf headed towards the place where he remembered to have last seen his trunk, and upon finding it in a dark corner he dragged it along the floor with his wand and placed it near his bed. He opened it by swishing his hand over the locks and then rummaged through the many layers of clothes and purposeless items alike in order to find suitable attire for the upcoming day. He got dressed quite fast, and after pulling a sweatshirt over his shoulders he proceeded outside.
And there she was, as beautiful as she always appeared to be in his mind, with her eyes gazing dreamily at…Gustav. Rolf frowned. He had noticed lately that his childhood and lifelong rival had gained the same interest in the girl that he had laid eyes upon. He watched her with the same inquisitiveness and same desire to get to the bottom of her secrecy; he offered his help whenever she would seem in need of a hand and more than once had Rolf noticed him eyeing her at dinner, from across the table.
He didn’t know if he was merely doing it on purpose, because he had realised what an effect she had on him, but Gustav would not have the last word in this confrontation. Quite calm, and overly self-assured as he always was, he stepped forward and sat across from them, next to his grandfather who was indulging himself with a pipe.
“Good morning, Rolf…” Mr. Scamander said, and Luna gazed up from her plate to get a glimpse of him. “How did you sleep?”
“Quite well,” he replied while eyeing Luna, who turned her gaze around and instead of looking at him, she focused on whatever Gustav was saying.
“You went out last night,” Gustav added, smirking. “I woke up at midnight and noticed that your bed was empty.”
“I couldn’t sleep so I went out for a walk…” he blurted, never ceasing to look at a now blushing Luna. “I didn’t know that I had to report to you if I had insomnia, I shall remember to do so next time.”
Mr. Scamander shook his head as though disapproving of their behaviour, but at that point, even Luna, who as always was caught up in a state of utter obliviousness, could tell that it would take more than a gesture to end their acid exchange of replicas.
“Luna, dear…” Newt said, as he pushed his plate aside. “Could you please give me today’s schedule?”
“Of course,” she replied, before leaning over to take some papers from her bag. “Here you go.”
Mr. Scamander looked at the piece of parchment, every once in a while twisting his moustache in a pensive manner that amused Luna. He looked up through his monocle to see if the tension between Gustav and Rolf had dissolved, but the glances they’d still throw each other were no omens of peace. He sighed, defeated, and then focused on examining the parchment before him, without even bothering to show the least interest to what was happening around him. After some minutes of cogitation, he folded the parchment and then shoved it into one of the pockets.
“Shall we?” he asked, and then lifted rising from his place.
“Where to, Mr. Scamander?” Gustav inquired, while Rolf and Luna both abandoned their spots without further ado.
Mr. Scamander let out a chuckle and as he picked up his sack he spoke, “To find some extremely beautiful, yet dangerous magical creatures, Gustav. You didn’t think we were going on a holiday, did you?”
The young man, who this time had chosen a slightly more appropriate outfit, smiled and then rose from his chair as well. He grabbed his classy case and approached Luna, hoping to spend the journey in her company, much to Rolf’s dismay, as he preferred staying behind, rather than walking beside the group.
He watched Gustav talking vividly to Luna, she smiled and nodded approvingly, every once in a while losing her gaze into the depth of the horizon towards which they were heading. She looked pretty in those jeans and the knitted cardigan that she would most certainly dispose of once the afternoon sun would shine on the sky. Gustav said something to which Luna laughed, and to better seal the degree of her amusement, at what appeared to Rolf as a joke, she affectionately brushed his arm.
At witnessing such a scene, that to Rolf appeared genuinely erotic, he felt compelled to do something to cut the evil from its root. He didn’t know what had determined him to want to take action, but the boiling in his veins told him that it was the right thing to do. He couldn’t allow Gustav, of all people, to take what he had rightfully claimed his own. Luna was his sudden interest; he was the only one entitled to reveal the secrets behind her lost gaze. Him, and no-one else.
He could outdo Gustav in any given field and he most certainly wouldn’t stand a chance in romance, or whatever this was. It would have to be subtle and thoroughly planned; he needn’t take any action now as it would have come as a rude thing. He reckoned that by having Luna as she was, he could not appeal to the tricks that worked for the vast majority of women. He would have to rely on his astuteness and intelligence, and mostly he would have to play his cards better than Gustav. He smiled evilly to himself and continued to watch Luna from a safe distance, all this time planning and making up all sorts of scenarios.
They had reached a glade when Mr. Scamander abruptly stopped and asked his students and grandson to keep silent for a while. Luna smiled and nodded approvingly, and together with Gustav and Rolf, who had kept a low profile so far, followed the man towards a blossoming bush that reminded her of the one she had seen in the forest, near the pond. She stepped forward with such a delicacy, afraid to make any sound but the natural ones.
Her mind was still stuffed with all sorts of random thoughts, most of them concerning Rolf, and for a brief second she feared that the rumbling going around her head could be heard by the others as well. Not wanting to dwell just yet on the various reasons why Rolf had not spoken to her all morning, she approached Mr. Scamander as he put aside some of the branches of the bush. He signalled her to look forward and as she leaned over, she noticed a scrawny looking bird, very much resembling a vulture, with greenish-black feathers and a large beak.
The group studied the awkward bird, making some brief annotations about it on their respective pieces of parchment, and after everyone declared satisfaction with their notes, Mr. Scamander led them to a remote place, where their voices could not scare the animal away.
“Now…can anyone tell me what that creature is?” he asked whilst leaning casually on a rock.
“That’s an Irish Phoenix,” Gustav spoke up confidently.
“Also known as an Augurey,” Rolf cut him off. “It’s native to Britain and Ireland .”
“It was once believed that his mournful cry was a death omen, but…” Gustav went on talking, ignoring what his rival had said.
“Recent developments suggest that it actually predicts rain, the only time when the Augurey flies…” Rolf cut him off, making both Mr. Scamander and Luna smirk.
“And what do they feed with, Luna?” Mr. Scamander asked, hoping to cease the little competition between his grandson and the son of his old friend.
“It eats insects and fairies…” she responded in her habitual dreamy voice.
“Would you qualify them as dangerous?”
“No more than a Wrackspurt, Sir…” she replied and Mr. Scamander smiled.
“A Wrackspurt, Luna? What are those?” Gustav inquired and Rolf grinned, thinking that being ignorant was not the best way to gain her interest.
“It’s quite an interesting creature, if you ask me… They’re invisible, so we wouldn’t be able to see them, but one can sense if they’ve been attacked by them. They float into the ear and make your brain go fuzzy…” she explained and Rolf jumped to the conclusion that indeed Gustav must have had one in his head ever since birth.
“Gustav,” Mr. Scamander said, hoping that by naming his students, no quarrels would arouse. “How many types of fairies do you know?”
“Four, Sir…” he spoke, while defiantly eyeing Rolf. “The Doxy, the Imp, the Leprechaun and the Pixie. They look like perfectly formed humans with wings that resemble those an insect may have.”
“They are extremely proud creature, sometimes to the point of being terribly conceited,” Rolf continued without any intervention from Mr. Scamander, who was just happy that his grandson still knew so much about magical creatures.
“The same could apply to you,” Gustav joked, hoping that it would spurt some giggles, but it failed to do so.
Luna did not dare to look at Rolf, knowing that he would most certainly be extremely upset, and if there was one thing she could not stand at that moment, was seeing his cold stare which reflected a side of him that she neither wanted nor wished to experience, for she knew that it would only increase the distress in her heart. She knew that Gustav’s joke had its fair share of truth but with the many doubts troubling her, she did not wish to add another one to an already endless list that noted his flaws and virtues.
Yes, he was spoiled and conceited, but he also possessed a kind and sensitive heart that allowed him to see the world in a delightful manner. ‘There are too many contradictions blending and repelling each other in Rolf,’ she thought, as she finally looked up from her piece of parchment.
Rolf turned around and glared at Gustav whilst stepping forward, trying to approach him.
“At least I don’t take my ballroom shoes along on a field trip,” he replied mockingly, and as the words left his mouth, he walked past Gustav without even bothering to glance at him.
Rolf drifted away from the glade where the group stood and then proceeded forward to seek some peace. He sat on the edge of a big rock, keeping the gathering in his sight, specifically Luna, who seemed to have disregarded the little discussion and as always had confined herself to analyzing some of the papers. He glanced down and noticed a little iris flower, blossoming at the bottom of the rock. He picked it up and smiled to himself, in an evil manner.
“Gustav,” he whispered to himself. “If I’m not enjoying this trip, then neither shall you…”
The group was silently eating in the glade, enjoying lunch on a fluffy blanket that Luna had brought along. After several inquiries, Rolf had been finally convinced to join them, and as he sat next to Luna, he noticed that Gustav’s case was open. Gustav still had his strange routines, like he had had as a child. He would never drink anything that had not been made by his own hands, or at least under his careful eye… so just like the usual, he had brought along a handful of tea leaves and herbs to make the habitual five o’clock tea. Rolf smiled in the same evil manner, and as Gustav turned around to talk to Mr. Scamander, he slipped between the leaves one belonging to the iris flower that he had picked up only hours before.
He knew that iris leaves were poisonous, but certainly not lethal in any way. The only thing they could cause was a sudden digestive discomfort, which was only natural every once in a while.
After having successfully achieved his goal, Rolf gladly continued to enjoy the sandwich that Luna had so carefully prepared for him. His eyes fixed Gustav, waiting any minute for him to pick his case and start fixing some tea for himself. His assumptions proved to be correct, and as Gustav blended the brew, he could hardly contain laughter.
It had only taken a few minutes for the poison to have an effect on him… his face had become yellowish all of a sudden, he accused some horrible stomach aches and nausea. Rolf sniggered to himself without anyone noticing, and after helping Gustav to sit down, he confined himself with some of the sketches that Luna had done of the Augurey, completely ignoring the situation around him.
“How are you feeling, Gustav?” Luna asked worriedly.
“Not so good,” he managed to mumble.
“I think this trip is over for us,” Mr. Scamander said, and then gestured to Luna to fetch him a tea cup.
Together, they took a Portkey to base camp without any further ado, except maybe from Gustav’s occasional mumbling and complaints, and perhaps Rolf’s sniggers, that at that point could hardly be controlled. Luna seemed to have not taken notice of who had been the responsible for Gustav’s situation and, in her habitual ignorance regarding the obvious, she headed back to her tent, explaining that she was rather tired and was in most need of some rest.
In fact, she could hardly bear to stand in Rolf’s presence without at least exchanging a few glances. She did not understand his behaviour, his sudden decision not to talk, or even look at her for that matter, but she hoped that after some well-deserved rest, the answers would start coming easily. Little did she know, that from that moment on, nothing related to Rolf would come easily…
A/N As I promised I posted this chapter faster… Anyway, again lots of thanks to my Beta xXLuna_LovegoodXx for doing all the necessary corrections in this chapter and to my great reviewers who are the best in the world. I hope you like this as well, as it has that little Gustav/Rolf showdown that I’ve been talking to you about for ages now. Let’s see what you think of this:D
Chapter 8: Kiss me...
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“Kiss me out of the bearded barley
nightly, beside the green, green grass
Swing, swing, swing the spinning step
you wear those shoes and I will wear that dress.”
Sixpence None the Richer- Kiss me When Luna stepped into the other tent the following morning, she instantly realised that Gustav’s state was far from improving; on the contrary, with every passing minute it seemed that it was worsening. Luna did not have to be a Healer to know that young Gustav was bound to spend at least another couple of days in bed, all this time drinking that horrible tasting potion that Mr. Scamander had fixed for him once they had reached base camp. It wasn’t that bad after all, apart from the constant nausea and the aching, which, as Gustav had pointed out, ‘was sucking the life out of him'; he hardly had any reasons to complain.
He was sitting comfortably in the grand bed that Mr. Scamander had offered to him upon seeing his deplorable state. He could ask for whatever his heart desired, as all others were to oblige to his every need and he was entitled to complain as much he wanted. But surely this arrangement was not in the least satisfactory for Gustav.
Luna sat by him, silently averting her gaze towards Rolf, who was sitting all by himself in a corner, reading from a book whose title she couldn’t see. Gustav smiled upon seeing her and excitedly began talking. What was to be a dialogue had suddenly transformed into a monologue, for Luna could hardly make a sentence to sound at least plausible. She had spent another sleepless night, thinking about Rolf and debating on the many reasons that could have pushed him into ignoring her all throughout the day prior to that morning. She now realised that at that point in her life, Rolf was the greatest mystery she had come across and unraveling the riddle would indeed take quite some time.
She had thought that she knew him, that day by the fountain, but now that he was showing another facet of his character she could hardly cease to believe that she was looking at a stranger. He was calm, serene, yet forever wild and choleric. He was clever and witty, albeit possessing such cunningness that would have easily sorted him into Slytherin. He was a man of contrasts, such strong contrasts that merely attempting to seek understanding of his behaviour would surely prove to be confusing. It seemed that she had allowed herself to delve too much into his cogitation and gradually, but certainly determinedly, she was beginning to lose track of her own mind.
She hardly knew what drew her to him, what made her want to seek his gaze in the morning mist as they ate breakfast. For all she knew, she could have easily gained the same interest in Gustav, but the fact remained that she hadn’t. Otherwise, there was no explanation as to why she was sitting next to Gustav while her eyes and mind contemplated the dark haired boy with tiny emeralds sparkling in the pit, whose body could be distinguished in the pale light of the morning. She could have turned around, facing Gustav, and listened to him talking. She could nod and agree to what he was saying, every once in a while contest his words and then return to her tent without any afterthoughts or countless worries to trouble her heart. Gustav could be the balance and peace of mind that she had sought for so long, yet there was something inside of her, almost screaming that Rolf is the one that she should discover.
There were no mysteries related to Gustav. He was sharp-minded, quite handsome, of a noble family and of pure-blood. He had studied at Beauxbatons, which explained his taste for couture and his high manners, had graduated with top marks and his residency in the Scamander house was temporary, granted as a favour to his father who had insisted on him working with Newt for a while. He had agreed and there he was today, lying in a bed, in a tent, accusing nausea and a sharp pain in the stomach. He could hardly be called challenging as a human being, whereas with Rolf things couldn’t have been more different.
All she knew about him was that, just like his rival, he was of pure-blood lineage and that he had been home-schooled. Everything else was pure speculation, or in Luna’s case, imagination. He hardly did anything to resemble his previous actions; his life did not follow any pattern and she often wondered if his vacillation between the different phases of his behaviour was a good or a bad thing. He was fluctuant, but never did he show any sign of hesitancy in his actions on account of the obscurity which his life seemed to dwell on most of the time.
Luna tried to make up some scenarios that could have happened to Rolf as a child. She vividly emblazoned a lanky boy of about six, with hair as dark as the plumage of a raven, with a pair of striking eyes whose green iris resembled the jade rock of her mother’s ring and a shenanigan’s smile fluttering on his thin lips. He would lose his countenance on account of his desire to explore the world – to feel it, to see it, to smell it, to take a bite from it, chew it and sense the flavour that discovery preserved for a six year old. She pictured him sitting on a chair, in front of a window, watching the rain falling relentlessly from the sky, wringing his fingers and dangling his feet nervously.
The six year old Rolf would want to go out despite his grandmother’s advice. He would want to venture in the forest, or submerge underneath the freezing water of the sea, or heave above the clouds. He would crave for adventure, for excitement, for the feeling of adrenaline rushing through his veins.
Soon she reasoned that she was actually making up an accurate portrait of the eighteen year-old Luna, who fidgeted in her chair, looking at the object of her yearnings – Rolf. He was the depth that she needed to protrude with her mind, the abyss in which she wanted to delve, and the peaks that she craved to achieve.
She admitted that maybe she was rushing into things, for surely, nobody would prove such inquisitiveness about someone after having only met him two weeks prior to that morning. She had heard the girls in her year talking about love at first sight, as most of them had translated the butterflies they would feel when Draco Malfoy walked past them. She did not see any resemblance between the emotions that the Slytherin boy aroused in Julie Parker and her own. She didn’t feel like fainting when they would meet, she didn’t go to the bathroom to vomit after Rolf would look at her and most certainly she didn’t intend to write an anonymous love letter.
This was not love at first sight, she reckoned, albeit not having a clue about what it meant or implied. She was rather intrigued by his manner of behaving, as it offered her a perpetual subject of debates and speculations. Luna saw Rolf as the epitome of all the wild-goose chases; it nurtured her appetite for adventure and flow of adrenaline, it stimulated her mind and it gave her the opportunity to solve an enigma in times in which the everyday threatened to stain her existence. He was just another jigsaw whose pieces she had to put back together in order to understand what he represented…or was he more than that?
“Luna,” Mr. Scamander spoke fondly while entering the tent. “How kind of you to stop by and greet Gustav…!”
She blushed but didn’t avert her gaze from Rolf, who seemed to have abandoned himself in the sweet obliviousness that was so characteristic of her.
“I was just telling her the bad news,” Gustav commented.
“What bad news?” she snapped while breaking eye contact with Rolf. “Did something happen?”
“Oh, no need to worry dear,” Mr. Scamander said. “It’s just that Gustav here won’t be able to leave this bed for a couple of days. You see his situation is still rather delicate and I wish not to worsen it.”
“I see…” she replied dreamily.
“That is why, I’m afraid, that you and Rolf are to continue the trip without us for a while,” Mr. Scamander spoke making Rolf lift his gaze from the book he was reading. “It’s just for a couple of days, until Gustav is back on his feet. You’ll collect data about what you encounter and later, when you come back, we can talk about it. What do you think? Rolf?”
The dark haired young man rose from the floor and placed the book on the desk, after marking the page that he had last read. He approached the two people flanking Gustav’s bed and as he leaned against Luna’s chair, he brushed the hair of his face in a very masculine manner.
“I think it is fine,” he responded. “Luna and I can manage on our own for a while. Don’t you agree Luna?”
“Yes…” she said. “We shall be safe, at least if we don’t come across an Ungubular Slashkilter.”
Gustav frowned, Mr. Scamander sighed in very content manner and Rolf smiled, thinking that Luna was probably the oddest, yet most adorable human being he had met. How could she have preserved her dreaminess and playfulness after all that she had been through? She had seen her mother dying at such a fragile age, had fought against Death Eaters even though she had not come of age yet and she had learned to move on after having to say goodbye to so many of her friends. She had been fierce in times when others, and even he, would have given up any attempt at bravery.
“So having settled that…” Mr. Scamander spoke after a brief moment of silence. “I think you should leave now; the sooner, the better.”
Luna rose from her bed, shot a transitory glance to Gustav who was not at all pleased with how the events were unfolding and then proceeded outside to fetch her backpack. She went to her tent, collected all that was necessary for their trip and as she emerged outside again, she noticed Rolf waiting for her before the fire.
He wore the same clothes that she had seen him wearing in the tent, but in the morning light they seemed to have gained a certain elegance that the darkness of the room had so unfairly bedighted. She approached him and as he lifted from the ground, he dragged his rucksack along. They waved goodbye to Mr. Scamander, assuring him that they would be alright, and started marching towards the east as they had previously been instructed.
They had lost themselves into the farness only a couple of minutes after they had left the site, for they walked fast and hadn’t even opened their mouths to speak. What could they possibly say now? Words had suddenly lost their value for they no longer managed to convey their need to understand what was so peculiar of one another, what drew them closer each time they were alone. Possibly, their silence spoke more about their feelings than a bunch of words said out of mere boredom could ever do it, but it was in the blatting silence that Rolf found even more questions that he didn’t have enough courage to ask.
It was still a matter of deep concernment why he hadn’t dared to talk to her just yet, following their midnight incursion through the forest, but surely at that point he could hardly find something proper to ask her. He felt relieved when she decided to break the awkward silence.
“Do you reckon we’ll see dragons today?”
“Dragons, you say…” he replied pensively, while clutching his backpack. “Are you sure you want to see one? There is just two of us, it would be quite difficult to handle one, if we came across it.”
“Oh, it should be interesting,” she added. “I haven’t seen one since my third year. You know, the Triwizard Tournament. Harry handled wonderfully the Hungarian Horntail, so as there are two of us, we’ll do an even better job.”
“We don’t have a Firebolt, Luna,” Rolf spoke and she flinched at the hearing of her name.
“True,” she admitted. “It might be potentially troublesome. How did you know about the Firebolt?”
“I read about it in the Prophet. I guess it was written everywhere.”
“We didn’t write an article about the Tournament. There were some other pressing matters that couldn’t be delayed. You see the Nargles had assembled an army and were planning to take over the Ministry during Christmas - you know, through the mistletoe,” she explained while her beaming eyes gazed at him.
Rolf nodded approvingly, though deep inside he had no idea why Nargles would desire to take over the Ministry - and what were Nargles anyway? It didn’t matter at that point, for if Luna had told him that he had them stuck in his pockets, he would have believed her without even bothering to check if his trousers had been infected by a battling herd of the witty creatures that she so often spoke about.
There was something tainting about her convictions and the manner in which she confided them that made Rolf certain that they were in fact credible and worth paying attention to. If his friends could take a look at his thoughts, they would think he had gone bonkers. But he hadn’t, at least that was what he thought of himself. Indeed, he had changed quite a bit since meeting Luna, but he didn’t attribute his sudden review of behaviour to a change of heart and feelings towards her, but rather to her novel manner of looking at the world that had made him realise that there was more to life than what he had previously believed.
She was clever and had a rather open mind that motivated him too seek the same virtues in him. He could try and at least bestow her convictions a degree of credibility and, following a profound research, he would be able to state if Nargles, Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks and, possibly, even the conspiracy theories had a glimpse of truth in them.
As they walked over the empty field, covered by little red flowers that seemed to stain the green strands of the grass, Rolf wondered if there was only a mere curiosity that pushed him into talking to her. And if there was only that to tie him of her, why had he done that to Gustav? She was free to choose whoever she wanted to talk to; she could do whatever she wanted, for there was nothing between them to make her dependent of his approval. Maybe he did like her; maybe he had truly wanted to kiss her that night by the pond, for he had repeated to himself over and over again that indeed he hadn’t even contemplated that thought. Maybe his heart had feebly, but determinedly started to pound for her…
He had never felt so utterly confused about a girl. Throughout his teenage years, and even his young adulthood, he had dated all sorts of women, none of whom had ever been able to retain his interest for more than a couple of days, not that they could have done that to another man, anyway. They were all shallow, albeit beautiful and charming even, some of them. But not even one had been capable of making Rolf Scamander fall in love, and Luna hardly appeared to be like the type of girl to make any man fall in love.
Yet, somewhere deep inside of his heart, something that he hadn’t identified so far was growing stronger with every passing minute. It couldn’t be love, he thought, but something else, something that no one had ever felt before.
Love…love is like… he had no idea how love felt, but it certainly didn’t happen like that. Love was supposed to be like in the books he had read; it would happen to the perfectly matched kind of people, those who saw a mirror of themselves in the other…
He looked at Luna, but he could hardly see himself in her. She was strange, yet in an adorable sort of way. She was brave and mysterious; she was basically everything he was not. Surely love could not tie them, for it was a feeling that implied so much more than just kisses and touches. It was about being able to make compromises; he had never been fond of those. To act in a completely corny way that he found below his range, and most certainly it referred to that certain openness towards one’s feelings that he was not prone to possess any time soon.
Surely love meant wanting to say those magic three words that had never left his lips, and that was problematic for Rolf indeed.
Nevertheless, admitting that maybe he liked Luna, he went on walking by her side, all throughout watching her elegant gestures, like the lock that kept falling on her forehead, disheveling from the bun, or the fluttering of her lashes when the torrid sun of that day pierced her sight, or the fidgeting of her fingers…
They had walked a fair distance without any breakthroughs, but Luna was reluctant in abandoning this trip just yet, and somehow she could guess in Rolf’s stare that he was feeling the same. There had been precisely three hours since they had left the tent and the base camp and had ventured on their own in the farness, looking for that something, whatever that meant.
But for Rolf and Luna, this little trip did not have any professional connotation. They had agreed to go because they had issues that both needed to see solved and some time on their own was bound to do just that. However, having passed some hours and having walked a fair distance, still neither of them had reached a conclusion, despite the conversation they had carried.
No wonder that they hadn’t since their talk had mainly concerned the little things that were not in any way related to the events that they had shared all throughout the two weeks that had elapsed since their first encounter. She had spoken about her school years; he had commented upon the differences between their childhoods, had laughed a bit about the pranks that the D.A. had done during her sixth form when the Death Eaters had taken over the school, but no allusion whatsoever had been made, regarding to what had happened that night when he had shown her the unicorns.
“Can we stop for a minute?” Luna said at some point and Rolf ceased walking.
“Are you tired?” he asked, while glancing at her feet to see if she had worn shoes this time. “Would you like to eat?”
“No,” she replied, while leaning over to sit on the ground
He threw his rucksack aside and then sat next to her, stretching his legs while relying on his hands to support his body weight. He gazed up to admire the grey clouds that had started forming on the once spotless sky. The sun still shone bright but its power would soon be bedighted by the darkness of the rain clouds that threatened to take over everything in just a couple of minutes.
“I bet it will rain,” he spoke up, thus breaking the silence that abashed them every time it settled between them.
“How much?” she asked while leaning her head on her palm, all this time losing her sight into the depth of the horizon.
“How much would you like to bet?” Luna said. Rolf smiled, thinking that he should cease making affirmations that would practically require an action to be made while in Luna’s presence.
“A galleon,” he finally spoke, while extending his right hand.
“You’ve got a deal,” she replied, as her hand met his.
She looked at him, daring to lose herself in the swirling green shade in a way the horizon line could never make her do. He smiled as their hands clasped in what should have been a firm shake, and as their gazes met he felt a peculiar heat taking over his whole body. He felt a cold drip hitting his right cheek and as they both glanced up, the sky was instantly alighted by the flash of lightning.
He smirked, “Looks like you’re losing the bet.”
In a matter of seconds, a heavy rain started pouring on them, soaking them to the bones, making her hair stick onto her cheeks and his clothes glue to his chest. He grabbed the rucksack and then pulled her by the hand in the direction of a nearby forest, hoping to avoid catching a nasty cold that would keep them in bed for quite a while. They ran through the field, hand in hand, Rolf virtually dragging her along while she pranced around, smiling and feeling rather please to run in the rain.
They reached the entrance to the forest and as the drips of rain decreased their cadency through the tree branches, they eased down their walk. He guided her beneath a tall oak tree that provided good shelter from the rain and as they stopped beneath its heavy branches, they found themselves caught in a peculiar silence that seemed to be screaming in their ears. He watched her with the same avidness like he had done that hot day by the fountain, analyzing every single imperfection of her face that made her perfect in his mind: her eyes, her pointed nose, the pink lips and the way she often curled them in a smile...
His gaze slid down onto her cheeks, and as she put a damp strand over her ear, he noticed the radish-like earring hanging from her ear lobe. The other ear was not adorned and at that point it seemed obvious why she had chosen to wear the unpaired jewel: they meant something to her and merely losing one was regarded as such a catastrophe that its brother would have to be worn, to remind her of the loss. He reached for his jeans pocket and took the earring out much to her surprise.
“I found it that day, when we met at the fountains,” he whispered, while taking another glance at the tiny ornament.
“Oh, I though it was lost forever,” she said, but did not reach to get hold of it as Rolf would have expected.
Her hair hung now loosely on her shoulders for the heaviness of the wet strands had managed to tear apart the little band that she had used to tie it in a bun. Rolf contemplated her dreamy eyes as she looked at the tiny red blot nesting in his palm and, for a brief second, he thought he had never seen such a beauty.
“Would you like me to…?” he inquired while stepping forward.
She nodded and he picked the earring by the tab, steadily leaning over to get a better view of her right ear. She smelled like rain and parchment and something else, barely perceptible, yet enough as to stir his senses. Her skin felt soft as it rubbed against his hand and it was at the mere touching of their flesh that he felt like his heart had gone mad inside his chest. A million thoughts crossed his mind as he straightened up again, silently averting his gaze towards her.
She looked him in the eyes, flaunting inside her own the same curiosity to admit the craftiness in which his face had been carved by nature, and as she noticed the degree of closeness between them she blushed.
He leaned forward again and kissed her.
AN Thank you to all of you for your wonderful reviews, particularly my dear Jacqueline, jkrowling_fan(whom I didn't mention the first time because I'm such a bad person!) Mahalia, obviously394, shadowycorner, Craig, evie_doherty, crazy4fred2, Pixie, ButterflyRogue,bring_back_sirius, Quidditch Kisses and many many others. Another thank you goes to my wonderful beta xXLuna_LovegoodXx - she's doing an excellent job, don't you think? So now, how was that kiss?:D
Chapter 9: Love is a catching disease
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“How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss and all was said.”
His lips were still rubbing against hers but she could barely make a movement out of sheer surprise. She felt them…they were soft, thin and moistened by the heavy rain that had soaked them through their bones. His tongue looked for hers and instinctively she lost herself into his games, repeating his gestures, adjusting her head position according to his, closing her eyes and silently enjoying the sweetness of his mouth. His left hand arduously grabbed her frail waist and pulled her closer to him. Rolf felt her shivering under his tight clutch and cupped her face, running his long fingers through her wet hair.
Luna did not know what pushed her into doing it, but she lifted her arms, curling them around his shoulders while her fingers looked for the dampness of his black hair. She felt drips of rain running down on her face – the same ones that had soaked his forehead. They slid down on her cheeks, cold and perfectly shaped, then reached the crevasse between her nose and the flesh stretching above her lips and as she tilted her head to the left, they slipped between their intertwined lips. He welcomed the cold drip on his upper lip, for the fire burning their mouths could use a faint of chill. Her fingers awkwardly fondled his hair, clumsily even at some point, but it felt wondrously to Rolf, in a way he had never experienced it before. Their breaths accentuated, but the obvious failure of their lungs did not seem to be reason good enough to cease with the kissing.
For the first time in years, Rolf didn’t know what to do with his hands as there were so many things he would have liked to feel… like the dampness of her blonde hair, the softness of her cheek, the shivering of her body as he would run his fingers through her back, outlining the spine. But somehow his fingers did not see to want to leave the arch formed by her naked shoulder and the tilted head. The flesh covering it was soft like satin, intriguing in a way he had never thought human skin could be; it nurtured his appetite for discovery, for thrills and adventure. He had kissed before, many times even and many women, but not even once had a mouth bestowed him with such feelings. No lips seemed to have tasted so good, no touch had ever matched hers and most certainly never had his heart pounded so fast, as her hands had slid down on his broad shoulders.
He slowed down the pace of their kiss while she performed the same movements with less fierceness, feeling that she should adjust herself to his needs and wishes. Silently, without any verbal or gesticulatory agreement between them, they eased down their breathing until their lips unclasped from their perfect intertwining. He bore his nose on her cheek, upon slightly lifting his head, and her hands glided on his shoulders, then on his arms until she had restored them to their rightful place, next to her own body. She could feel his breath warming up the white flesh stretching across her face. Their lips were slightly close to one another, but they weren’t rubbing against each other anymore; instead they just shivered as the big drops that fell from their hair, slid along their spines.
Luna opened her big blue eyes, but they did not seem to perceive any real image, except for the blurry green surrounding a black pupil: his wide open eye. He blinked and the mere fluttering of his eye lashes caressed her cheek in a fondly manner that let Luna know that their kiss would not be regarded as an accident later. His fingers outlined the shape of her shoulders, lightly pressing on the clavicle and then caressing the soft skin stretching on her arms. His hands grabbed hers, and as their fingers intertwined in a perfect clasp he lifted his head with his eyes still fixing hers.
They looked at each other for a couple of minutes, not knowing what to say. He didn’t know what to believe, she could hardly refrain herself from stating her feelings. His mouth did not seem to want to speak, while hers was barely controlling from uttering the nonsense going on in her head. He hoped she said something first…anything that would eventually engage him in a conversation without having to explain, even to himself, what the kiss implied. She wished he muttered something that would clarify their situation…even a barely perceptible humming would do at that moment, just not this blatting silence that threatened to take the magic away from them.
“I’m hungry,” he said, partly ashamed that such a simple statement would start their very first conversation.
“Me too,” Luna replied.
Rolf leaned over and picked his rucksack from the ground, where he had dumped it upon reaching the shelter provided by the thick bushy branches of the tree. He had not cast a waterproof spell on it and everything inside seemed to have lost their habitual properties. The blank notebook was not in any way good for writing, the quills were of no use now and the packages that had once contained food were stuffed with a rotten matter that did not appear eatable. He showed her the inside of his rucksack and Luna smiled while picking up the items that could no longer be useful, putting them on the ground. She would set them on fire later.
“What are we going to eat?” she asked while glancing again at the neat pile of uneatable food.
“Have you ever been on a hunt?” Rolf replied, and she shook her head. “Well, what do you fancy?”
“Fish,” she spoke and then approached him again. “Fish with lemon and rice and pumpkin pie…you?”
“Hmmm… duck with vichyssoise and red Bourgogne wine,” he replied and then smiled. “But since we’re in the middle of nowhere and the closest variant to a real meal is the one proposed by you… I guess you’ll get your wish, except for the lemon thing, rice and pumpkin pie.”
“Sounds wonderful,” said Luna, as he clutched her hand. “But how are we going to do this?”
“Not the wizard way, anyway… Besides, the map that Grandpa gave us had a nice little river drawn all over it…”
She smiled and as he picked up his empty rucksack they proceeded together towards the core of the forest where Rolf remembered that a river must be.
They had been walking along the narrow path, streamed by all sorts of bushes and tall trees that sheltered them from the rain. His hand had never brought so much confidence and warmth; his fingers were clasping hers so forcefully that at some point she felt them numb, but under no circumstances did Luna feel the need to make him cease that action. It felt good and refreshing in a way a man’s clutch had never appeared to her – not that any of the moments when she had grabbed someone by the hand had had a romantic connotation.
He walked determined towards a place he had never seen with the naked eye and as she followed him along, he felt like he was in charge of everything; he was the only one who knew all there was to know, he would guide her to the food source, he would show her things that she had never seen, he would introduce her to a marvelous new life and Luna would listen to him. Some sort of a manly, egoistic pride invaded his being and he smiled to himself as this mere thought crossed his mind. He had never been the type to brag about his abilities and knowledge, but somehow nothing seemed to be the same when he was with Luna. And from that moment on he would be with Luna…
She paced up her walking, thus managing to reach his side and as their gazes met they smirked at each other in a childish manner that could only be attributed to the fervent kiss they had shared only a couple of minutes prior to those events. He stopped and she did the same. He tilted his head to the right and so did she, though she had no idea as to why he was performing the action. They stayed in silence for a while and as Luna focused on the irritable hush, she made out the sound of water splashing on rocks somewhere farther in the distance. Rolf smiled and then dragged her along towards the source of the mesmerising noise.
The river ran sinuously between the grey rocks, marking the abrupt passing from water to the sandy bank that seemed to stretch endlessly, meeting somewhere in the infinite with the horizon line that Luna so often contemplated. He beheld the hypnotic carousel ride that the water seemed to make between the heavy rocks and abandoned his hearing sense to the rippling produced by the miniature waterfall artfully designed by the landscape. He now remembered why he had enjoyed the trips with his grandfather as a child.
It was all about being in the wild, tasting and living nature…about discoveries and acquiring knowledge that could not be picked up from a book. It was about the peaceful chime of birds singing in the trees, about the sight of a serpentine river watering the grounds, the smell of rain and the strange flavour that relished his tasting sense.
“This place is wonderful,” she said as her hand left his. She stepped forward, carefully marching towards the bank where the trees could not protect her from the rain.
“You’re going to catch a cold Luna,” he replied and she turned around.
“It stopped raining. Look!” she murmured while pointing at the sky, to show him that the grey clouds had evanesced and instead had left behind a sparkling sun. “Come on up here.”
He nodded and followed her, attentively prancing between the rocks until they had reached a plain surface where they could fish silently and in peace. They sat on the hard surface that was bound to give them back aches later and as they took their wands out at the same time, they burst into laughter.
“You’re mimicking me,” Rolf joked, while examining his wand to see if the rain had in any way degraded its aspect.
“No, I’m not,” she replied, while performing the exact movements as he did. “You’re just reading my mind…”
“It’s called Legilimency, but I’m afraid I don’t possess this gift, talent, aptitude… you can call it as you want,” Rolf admitted.
“How are we going to this? Accio?” Luna asked and he shook his head.
“No, definitely not using magic… Wizards are a bit lazy don’t you think? They don’t even bother to go by themselves to fetch some coffee, because they can use accio!” he complained, while gesticulating in a manner that made Luna laugh. “We’re going to do it the muggle way…It’s so much funnier and relaxing.”
“Teach me how,” she said.
“May I?” he asked, while pointing at her wand.
She nodded and then trusted it to him, without even realizing that it was the first time that she bereaved herself of the wand. It had been her faithful companion over the years, it had proven to her that she possessed abilities that others didn’t, it had helped her fight for her life in the final battle and in the end it was that wand that had brought her to the Scamander house. She watched him wrapping a thin shred on the tip of her wand, took a look at the knot and then smiled satisfied. She grinned and as he went on, performing the same sequence of actions on his own, she turned around supporting her body weight on her arms and pointing her gaze towards the glittering sun that had recently emerged from between the grey clouds. She closed her eyes and allowed the hot rays to dry her clothes and hair, while her bare arms seemed to have been blazed by the same ravishing heat provided by the diurnal celestial entity.
“You always seem to lose your gaze into the distance…” he spoke. “What do you think about?”
“Many things… sometimes I think about my life, sometimes about my friends and sometimes I remember,” she answered.
“About your life, you say?” he went on with his questioning while handing her the wand that he had so artfully transformed into a line with a little worm acting as bait at the end of the thin thread hanging from the tip.
“Yes, I think about my family, the paths that I once took and those that I am about to pursue…about my goals and the decisions that allegedly can change my life,” she replied. “Anything… sometimes I even think about the future.”
“Keen on Divination?” he asked while cocking his left eye brow in disbelief.
“Not really…” she spoke while imitating the manner in which he had maneuvered the line. “I appreciate it as a form of art, I believe that there are people who possess the gift but I don’t want to think of my life as being already decided for me. I’ve been through enough as to realize that the unpredictable is what makes it all worth.”
He smiled for he quite agreed to her explanation. It was the inscrutable that had drawn him to her in the first place, that look in her eyes that did not reveal anything of herself, that fluttering red scarf that had flown away bringing along even more confusion to him… she was so much more than a couple of tea leaves spread in a cup, or some thin fog glowing in a crystal orb or the alignment of the stars at the time of her birth.
She was unique in her own sort of way, and such particularity of the mind could be bedighted by mere trying to guess what the future held for her. It appeared to Rolf, that Luna was the type of person who always knew exactly what she wanted, but certainly would not refuse to stray from her choices if the situation required it. She knew exactly who she was and she was not afraid to show it, whereas he only knew what he did not want to become. He had no goals to pursue and had only outlined those that he would never seek. There were so many discrepancies between them but it was in this simple contradiction of characters that Rolf found peace and comfort. He was someone because Luna was his reverse…
“And your friends, do you miss them?” he asked again.
“Quite a lot I must say…but I know that if I remember them, they’ll never leave my side. Such thoughts bring people closer. Back in my sixth year I was kidnapped on the train back home by some Death Eaters, because my father had written some articles that supported Harry and his cause against Voldemort,” she explained and he leaned on his left arm, all this time maintaining eye contact. “I spent six months in a dungeon beneath Malfoy Manor…and I thought of them, I worried about them and one day, when all hope seemed to have died away, they came and rescued me.”
“I wish I had friends like that,” he said. “Tell me something about them.”
“Well,” she began. “There’s Ginny, she’s Harry’s fiancée… she was in my year, but in Gryffindor. She’s very funny and beautiful…and plays Quidditch. Harry, well everyone knows him, but not the way I do. He’s shy and kind-hearted, brave and has that certain disregard for rules that got him into trouble quite often. He and Ginny are getting married this year.”
“Do they? I didn’t know that he was engaged. When is the wedding?”
“In September, on the first…They’re also celebrating the first time they met, some eight years ago,” she said and he smiled. “And then there’s Ron, Ginny’s brother and Harry’s best friend. He’s quite a nice fellow but lacks self esteem sometimes though since the final battle he’s changed for the good. Hermione is his girlfriend… we didn’t get along that well during school, because she’s a bit close-minded,” she spoke while lowering the pitch of her voice as though confessing a big secret.
“Aren’t we all at times?” he replied pensively.
“True…but she doesn’t believe that Nargles exist!” Luna exclaimed.
He laughed at the sight of her face expression, betraying some sort of bewilderment combined with the disappointment of finding out that sometimes people can be so ignorant.
“But she’s more tolerant these days,” she concluded. “And Neville, he’s a wonderful person…Ginny and him helped me to sabotage the Death Eaters that had taken over the school after Dumbledore’s death…He was so brave in the final battle, he defied Voldemort in the flesh. People would have never though that someone like Neville could be so courageous.”
She smiled as she remembered those days when one could call Neville Longbottom everything bar brave, as a Gryffindor should have been like. He would have made a great Hufflepuff but somehow the Sorting Hat had decided to place him in the house of Godric Gryffindor, dazzling some people with its choice. But now, after the final battle, no one really dared to contest the aptitudes that had granted him the pride to wear the gold and scarlet emblem on his school robes. He was Neville Longbottom and no longer the clumsy son of two great Aurors.
“I think we should use the Accio in the end,” Luna spoke while glancing at her immobile wand, whose thread had not even flinched since she had thrown it in the water.
She analyzed her wand with such curiosity that simply astounded Rolf. She had obviously seen it and felt its surface for so many years, yet it still preserved the uniqueness, the novelty that seemed to be characteristic of her as well. She could speak to him of everything, on and on without ever stopping and by the end of her retelling there would still be so many things that her mind and heart would still hold. Luna appeared like an everlasting source of knowledge and mystery; when the enigma of life would be long revealed by the humanity, her heart would still conceal the secrecy of her nature, for Rolf knew that something as pure and nonesuch as she was could never run out of puzzles that needed to be solved.
She turned around looking for a nod on his behalf that would allow her to use the Summoning Charm that everyone loved, and fetch their much needed source of food. Instead, he kissed her again.
AN. Sorry for having kept you waiting for so long:( but I've been really busy lately with my exams starting this Monday. This chapter is not beta-ed unfortunately because she is just as busy as I am, but I really wanted to post this because I couldn't keep you guys waiting for too long. Anyway, this is one of three filler chapters that will follow. I hope you like it:P
Chapter 10: The Mark on Her Heart
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“So she took her love for to gaze a while
Among the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold
Will you stay with me will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
And you can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold.”
Eva Cassidy-Fields of gold
The week had gone by fairly good for Luna and Rolf for they spent most of their spare time together out in the open, drawing sketches and making notes about the wildlife they so often saw in the nearby forests or along the rivers they passed before in their many journeys. It was not novelty that they were romantically involved for both Mr. Scamander and Gustav – who was ravished by envy and jealousy – had noticed that the degree of closeness between them had long exceeded the friendship border.
They held hands, sometimes shyly kissed each other when they thought no one was watching and surely the time they spent in each other’s company was more than enough for their companions to take notice of the development. Mr. Scamander had not even once, during the trip, commented upon their relationship, for it appeared to him to be a pertinent choice, and that could only make Rolf feel confident that he had made an honest pick of a woman. If his grandfather refrained himself from comments and acid replies than it meant the he taciturnly approved their bonding, which did not apply to Gustav.
Rolf had not heard his views – not that he cared much about them – but he could tell by his glare when Luna looked for Rolf’s hand in the morning mist that he was not at all happy with the situation. Nevertheless, Rolf controlled himself from throwing a nasty glance at his childhood rival and instead focused on Luna, with whom he seemed to be getting along very well.
She was sweet and childish in a way that made him feel like he had returned to the lost years of his childhood, when there were no worries and no images to stand up to. They would always meet at night, have a walk around the domain and maybe even pay a little visit to the couple of unicorns. He would show her things that he as a child had loved, such as the Red Caps that despite their blood-thirst were quite fun to observe between the ruins of an old castle or fortress, or the little snidgets that were very much exciting but difficult to watch as they flew over their heads. It had been a wonderful week for Luna, in which she had learned so much more than what Mr. Scamander had taught her. She had begun seeing the world through different eyes – through Rolf’s. The sight was beautiful, or at least that how it appeared to Luna.
She saw the magical beast and creatures that had embellished his childhood years, the adventures and thrills that he and his grandfather had been through as Rolf retold them with such artistry. He would draw her, as he was very sharp in the field. He would draw with his pen the oval shape of her face, the bulging blue eyes that mesmerised him, the pointed nose and the pink lips that every once in a while would melt in his. And then the tip of his pen would slide on the paper, producing a screeching sound that Luna had learned to adore, and he would outline the dirty blonde locks that fell down on her back, dancing whenever she hopped.
He had gained quite a habit to sketching scenes, like the kiss under the branches of a tree, with the wet in her hair and the bemused expression plastered on her face as their lips parted, or the small figures of two people sitting on the edge of a fountain – a girl with long blonde hair and a young man leaning on a statue – talking and gazing at each other as the hot sun of that day made clothes feel like an impediment.
In their last day in Scotland, both Rolf and Luna woke up early, hoping to get to spend a little time on their own before Mr. Scamander and Gustav would be up and ready to flee back home. As Luna emerged from her tent, she suddenly felt odd, in a way she had only felt on her graduation day. There she was again on the brink of facing a new life and saying goodbye to her former existence. It hurt but it also lightened her up… She was scared yet again about leaving a place that she had got adjusted to but the perspective of walking out with Rolf’s hand in hers, assured her in the same manner in which her friends’ words had managed to bedight the sadness of that graduation day. Today, she was not waving goodbye to a place, like Hogwarts had been, but rather to a way of living.
Yes, she had lived her life according to a set of weird rules that people had never really understood, and today she would have to leave a part of it let go because she had to grow up. The situation required adjustment and for the first time in years, she was not afraid to fit in, because he, as brave and strong as he was, needed her to show him how it’s done.
Luna had never been with a man before, she had never kissed or held a hand the way she did now, but in a way it made her feel assured that it was the natural order of the world. She had fought for her friends to live, to see them happy, married with children and for many times she had wondered if her friends – who had had the same objective in mind – would get to see the purpose of their bravery achieved. And now even if they were barely at a beginning, even if they were not bound to last, she knew that she had a chance…she could at some point be someone’s wife, as she was now Rolf’s girlfriend. She would one day hold a child’s hand and call it her own, even if the one waiting for them to come back home behind the door of their house would not be Rolf.
She smiled as she thought that indeed she would rather have Rolf than any other man on the face of the planet. He was nothing like she had him pictured to be or like others would have probably delineated him. He was kind, warm and gentle. He could speak for hours, endlessly even, and he would never cease to astound Luna with his dense knowledge; he could intrigue her mind and at the same time lighten it up about the smallest of things – as weird and contradictory as it sounded. Rolf made her blush and assured her at the same time; Luna could feel deeply ignorant in his presence but also an insufferable know-it-all. With him she knew nothing and everything…she could see through the depth of the deepest ocean and miss the obvious that not even a blindfold could cover.
She knew that Rolf had suddenly taken an important place in her life, even if they had only been acquainted for a couple of weeks. It was the memory of a last night that made her smile as soon as she opened her eyes in the morning; it was his touch that made her shiver, and his lips that managed to hypnotize the blue swirling in her eyes.
She stepped outside wrapped in a fluffy blanket that covered her whole body and as she moved forward she noticed Rolf, sitting backwards from her, leaning on a tree trunk, with his hands moving across a white sheet of paper. His hair was as dark as she remembered it – messier though. The back of his neck stuck out from between the dark hair that hanged over it and the polo neck of shirt. She walked slowly towards him, hoping that her steps were as discreet as the barely audible sound that the pencil produced when he dragged it across the blank paper. She leaned over and kissed the soft skin that butted out from beneath the shirt and as she looked ahead, she noticed a smile reflected in the shinny surface of a pot that boiled over the fire.
“Good morning,” he said as he dropped the pencil in his lap and folded the notebook on which he had been scribbling before her arrival. He lifted his right arm and grabbed her waist, then gently pulled her next to him.
“Good morning,” she whispered as she sat on the ground, goading her bare feet onto his as she wrapped their bodies in the blanket. She leaned her head on his shoulder and he grabbed her hand beneath the fluffy sheet. “What were you drawing now?”
“Just another sketch,” he replied, while running his long fingers through her long blonde strands that smelled like dewdrops.
“Of an animal?” she asked.
“No, certainly not… I don’t find them amusing anymore. It was a sketch of us.”
“Can I see it?”
“No,” he answered with a languishing voice that no one would have found offending given the abrupt denial. “It’s not done yet… I want you to see the final product.”
“Alright,” she replied in such a fondly manner that for many would have seemed rather odd.
It was even striking for Rolf, because he had never met a girl who understood and respected his choice for intimacy regarding his actions, with such facility and outright resignation. She never insisted on things, which to some people it might have appeared as a lack of strength, but for Rolf it was the refrain of her curiosity that made her strong.
“When we go back to Dorset…” he spoke and she gazed up to watch his lips moving. “We could go in town and buy some brushes and oil colours…and then I’ll turn these sketches into paintings.”
Luna smiled and then accommodated her head on his chest. “How would you like that?”
“That would be wonderful,” she replied. “I didn’t know there were wizard shops in Dorset.”
“There aren’t any,” he said much to her astonishment. “There’s this nice little street in town, filled with all sorts of muggle shops that one can buy everything. They have a splendid market where they give you baskets to put fruit and veggies in, and they have long aisles where both sides are stuffed with all sorts of exotic foods from Asia and Africa…” he explained while she listened to his words curiously. “And next to it, there is this strange shop where they sell some big boxes with a glass pane… I don’t know why Muggles use them; they resemble the portraits and the photographs that we have.”
“We could ask Hermione,” Luna said. “She’s muggleborn so she should know all about these objects…they are objects, aren’t they?”
“I’m not sure,” he replied. “You can see people in them…I tried talking to them but they didn’t reply as do our paintings.”
“How interesting,” she exclaimed as she lifted, looking straight into his eyes. She then shifted her gaze behind and then started gesturing vividly as though trying to catch a mosquito.
“What’s wrong, Luna?” he asked.
“Wrackspurts…” she explained upon regaining composure.
“Oh, the ones that make your brain go fuzzy?”
She nodded happily and then re-took her place between his arms. How good it felt now, how secure… she knew he understood her in a way people had never been able to do it. She had not cared about their oblivion, nor had she sought their acceptance, but somehow being comprehended by Rolf had gained such an importance that she could never conceive herself without his silent, yet so meaningful nod. He believed her and despite never having looked for any source of collusion, she knew that she had always yearned for someone to share her secrets with.
“This week I’m going to London,” she whispered.
“I’m supposed to meet up with Hermione and Ginny to choose the dresses for the wedding…”
“Oh… so the girls are going shopping,” he added while smirking. “I pity Harry’s Gringotts’ vault, or Ron’s for that matter…” She laughed. “Are you going to spend the night there?”
“No,” Luna answered quickly. “I’m just going to stay the afternoon. Would you like to come?”
“I would only be intruding…I think I’m just going to stay at home and do something more useful than following the girls around. Shopping for clothes has never really been my thing,” Rolf admitted making her smile. “But I will miss you…”
She blushed, not knowing what to say. No boy, man, or whatever Rolf was, had ever told her such words. And now that someone – and to top it all a man of Rolf’s range – told her that he would miss her, made her feel awkward in an elating sort of way. She had never felt her heart beating faster and so chaotic like it did that morning, as those mere five words had left his mouth. He kissed her forehead – in such a protective manner that resembled so much to the ‘goodnight’ kisses that her father gave her as she sat underneath the blanket – and she clutched more fiercely to his hand.
He flinched as he sensed the warmth of her hand emitting on his, in such a natural way as if she had done such action forever. Her body felt so light, as she leaned on his chest, with her head bouncing up and down as he rhythmically breathed. She was small or so it appeared to him, whilst he watched her curling her legs in a fetal position with her head almost touching her own chest. He let go of her hand and wrapped it around her back while the other one pulled her legs, thus dragging her closely to him. Their gazes met and she smiled as their lips moved closer to one another.
“Rolf,” she suddenly spoke as their lips were an inch from one another. “Why do people kiss?”
He stopped moving for a while, silently contemplating the curios gaze that she so charmingly reflected in her deep blue eyes. He knew why he kissed her…because her lips were sweet, because their clasping mouths made the blood rush through his veins, because when the wetness in hers met his it felt like he was a different man. He kissed her because it was the only manner that really spoke something about him…it was his fingerprint. She blinked.
“Well people kiss…because…” he paused. “Kisses are…” he ran his fingers through her long hair, slightly disheveling it. “People kiss because they yearn to say something that cannot be spoken with words.”
She moved forward and placed her lips on his.
“Err,” a cough could be heard from behind and as Rolf gazed up, he noticed Gustav and his grandfather emerging from their tent, carrying along their trunks. “We’re all set,” Mr. Scamander spoke, partly sorry that he had listened to Gustav and intruded.
“Oh…” whispered Luna. “Then I should probably go and fetch my things.”
She lifted from the ground, dragging the blanket along and upon reaching her tent she looked behind catching Rolf’s ogle as he entered his.
Mr. Scamander had already packed the tents with Rolf’s help – since Gustav accused yet another stomach ache – when Luna glanced at her watch, only to notice that it was already twelve in the afternoon. She looked around trying to imprint every leaf, every curve of the earth, every tree… she would sorely miss them now that she was leaving, but deep inside she knew that better times were waiting her behind the golden pot that Mr. Scamander would use as a portkey.
She put her wand behind her ear and approached the men with whom she had spent the past week. They circled the tiny pot and as Mr. Scamander counted to three, they all leaned forward and allowed the chaotic vortex to transport them back to Dorset.
“Bless your soul! You’re back…” Luna heard as she began to take awareness of her surroundings. She opened her eyes and saw Rolf, a couple of inches from her and Gustav slightly further. Mr. Scamander had already lifted form the ground and was staunchly hugging his wife.
Rolf grabbed his rucksack and then offered his hand to help Luna get up as well. She trusted her trembling fingers to Rolf and he steadied her up, with a sharp yet caring movement. He didn’t let go of her even if Mrs. Porpentina was lovingly watching them with a satisfactory smile plastered to her face, while Mr. Scamander gladly nodded.
“Come on, I bet Grandma has cooked something delightful for dinner.”
AN. Thank you so much for the constant support and the wonderful reviews you've left. A couple of people I need to thank to: jacqueline_noir, mahalia, shadowycorner, jkrowlingfan, craig, pixie_ power, evil_little_devil, Quidditch Kisses, pinaygirl3123, finger_licking_good, obviously394, bring_back_sirius and so many others. A special thank you goes to Sammy23 and the_tofuubeaver who have so kindly recommended this story over to the forums. This chapter is not beta'ed either, but still you all know that my beta is the greatest! Props to xXLunaLovegoodXx. Love you all!
Chapter 11: A Taste of Rolf Scamander
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I'm oozing it
Bit by bit
I'm taking it
Step by step
Boy here and now”
Rolf pushed the door open, silently, afraid to wake Luna up who by the looks of it was still sleeping. He closed it behind him and carefully tip-toed to the bed, while glancing around him mesmerised by the way she had decorated the room. He noticed the white vaporous curtains that he had seen so many times fluttering in the violent breeze coming from the sea, whilst he sat on the shore glancing at her window.
How many times had he wished to get to the bottom of her secrecy and now that he could do it, he no longer desired to uncover the mystery in her. He just wanted her to preserve it until the end of time; to be his wondrous adventure until he would get tired of discovering and analyzing. She would be the insatiable fountain of secrets, the one that would quench the thirst of his soul when the everyday would threaten his existence.
He kneeled next to her bed and carefully removed the sheets that were covering a large part of her face. How peaceful Luna looked… she breathed cadent, her hair was slightly dabbing her pale face and her pink lips seemed to be twisted in a strange manner. She was smiling in her sleep… Her long lashes were immobile and Rolf grinned as he recalled that he hardly got to see her with her eyes closed. She always gazed at people with her big bulging blue eyes that emphasized her curious nature - the one that Rolf found so charming.
He gently caressed her cheek, shivering as he felt the softness that resembled to the silky fabric of his grandmother’s robes. She flinched and he smiled as Luna opened her eyes, partly disturbed by the light coming through the curtains. She grinned as she saw him, standing kneeled on the ground with his head close to her own and his long thin fingers feeling her face. She moved her body towards the endmost corner of the bed and invited him to sit next to her. Rolf nodded and after lifting from the parquetry he laid on the bed, next to her, pulling her in a tight clutch. Her head rested on his chest as he put his arm across her frail body. He tucked himself between the sheets, his bare feet looking for hers beneath the blanket.
“Good morning, Luna…” he whispered. “Fancy an adventure today?”
“What kind of adventure?” Luna asked, still not being able to fully comprehend his words.
“Does a walk through the town sound exciting enough for you?”
“Will we buy brushes and colours?” she wondered.
He nodded. “And we’ll get fruits that have traveled a long way to reach our mouths…like mangos and papayas from Thailand and bananas from Africa,” he explained. “And then if we’re tired we’ll stop by and have a drink at a local pub…”
“Can we see those boxes that you talked about yesterday?”
“Of course…you’ll find them most exciting, I’m sure…” he responded.
“But it's Monday…Aren’t we…I supposed to work? I’m sure that your grandfather, as fond of you as he might be, will not allow me to leave all that paper work behind...” she replied.
“Oh, there’s no need to worry about that. You’ve got the week off… He said you’ve worked enough during the trip and a break would be most welcomed,” he sighed and then tucked her more between his arms. Luna smiled without him even noticing. “But I believe he hopes you’ll be able to keep a close eye on me…”
“Why would he want that?”
“I’m not sure,” he answered slightly tilting his head towards the left, not knowing why he had even got that impression. “I suppose because he’s always been interested where I go and what I do.”
“Why don’t you tell him?” Luna asked in a complete state of oblivion, as though not having noticed that between Rolf and Mr. Scamander there was that certain tension that allowed neither to enjoy even breakfast without having a row. “I used to tell my mother everything, but then she died, which was rather horrible but at least I’ve got my Dad.”
Rolf shrugged. Luna was surely the most honest person he had ever known. Who would talk such freely about a parent’s death and above all, using adjectives such as horrible or tremendous like Luna did? Certainly it must have taken her some guts to get over her mother’s parting and then to talk about it with such casualness wavering in her voice as if she had just lost her wallet.
“He wouldn’t understand,” he said, quite self assured with a distinct pride emanating from his tone of voice. “And I’m not in the least excited about explaining it to him… But I don’t want to talk about this now; I’d rather you got dressed as quick as possible, though.”
“Alright,” she responded and then lifted from the bed, climbing over him and then, as her feet touched the parquetry, she steadily moved towards the bathroom.
He stood astir, watching each of her moves, slightly embarrassed by the fervent manner in which his eyes must have stared at the sway of her hips as she moved forwards towards the bathroom; he bit his upper-lip. He liked her…and found her very much attractive, for that matter. He wished he made himself move, open the door that now separated them and have a shower with her. But common sense and a deep rooted feeling that she had never shared more than a living room with a man, stopped him from doing all that his heart required. Instead he started marching towards the entrance door and as he pressed the handler he thought that maybe he should let her know that he was leaving.
“Luna,” he shouted as he heard the water running.
“Yes,” Luna responded.
“I’m going to change my t-shirt…I’ll meet you downstairs, ok?” Rolf spoke in the same raised pitch.
“Right,” she replied and he pushed the door open, preparing to leave as she started speaking again. “Oh! Rolf! Is it hot outside?”
He pondered for while thinking that indeed he was very much hot, but not on account of the burning sun that was now taking over the first quarter of the sky.
“I believe it is…Downstairs, don’t forget…10 minutes,” he said and then emerged form her room, much to Gustav’s displeasure who just happened to be passing on the corridor on his way towards the ground floor.
The “jolly children”, as Mrs. Scamander called Rolf and Luna, left the house much to her content and as they ventured outside the protective garden of the house, they found themselves in an open green field that was such a familiar sight in that particular area of England. They walked, hand in hand, following the axis of the road that was sure to lead them to the nearby town. Its houses with grey fume emitting from the tall chimneys had become visible as soon as the couple had stepped out of the Scamander property.
The sun was sparkling on a forget-me-not sky with scattered milky clouds that appeared to have been made of candy floss and despite the habitual hotness of middle July, there was a lovely breeze blowing from the sea that cramped the air with a salty odour. The horizon line seemed to be getting farther and farther, as they walked towards it, every once in a while getting itself lost from sight, between the small Georgian houses with big windows and flower pots on the balconies.
On their left, on the other side of the road, Luna could clearly see a barley field and some four year old children running around, pretending that their red balloons were some forceful monsters that threatened to eat them, unless they ran as fast as their feet allowed them. She knew they were muggles by the clothes they wore: some dirty pairs of jeans and shirts that their mothers had surely insisted they should tuck in their pants, but which now hanged loosely, slightly covering the neat black belts.
A purple car walked past Luna and Rolf and she pointed it to him, claiming that she had never seen such colour on a muggle transport device, as she called them. He thought it was a nice shade and as they approached the entrance to the town he promised he would paint her with a purple flower in her hair, once he would get the chance. She smiled at the hearing of his words and then held tighter to his hand while leaning her blonde head in his shoulder. They walked past some of the little, but most charming houses Luna had ever seen and as they reached a crossroads, Rolf indicated that if they were to go to the shops they should turn left.
A couple of minutes after having reached the crossroads, they emerged on the long narrow street, cramped with all sorts of muggle shops, on both sides of the road. The windows were very clean, and as they walked past of them they could clearly see their reflection in them. Rolf stopped abruptly at one point and dragged Luna inside a little shop with a big dull advertisement banner hanging above the door, saying “Johnson and Sons”. He pushed the door open and a sparkling chime of bells filled the crowded space.
It smelled like paint inside and as soon as she could glance around, she noticed that every shelf was clustered with all sorts of brushes- some big, some very small- and colours so bright and eye-catching that it was almost impossible not to yearn to stretch a hand and dip your fingers in the muddy-like liquid.
“Good afternoon, Colin…” Rolf spoke, upon his gaze meeting a ten year old boy. “How’s the business?”
“Going smooth, as always,” he replied cheekily making Luna smirk. “Who’s this beautiful lady? I don’t advise you to introduce her to me, though…she might not like you that much afterwards.”
“I think I’ll take my chances,” Rolf said. “Colin, this is Luna…Luna Lovegood.”
“It’s nice to meet you Colin,” she spoke, outstretching her hand and meeting the boy’s.
“So now that we’re done with the courtesy… Can we please pass on to something more exciting?” Rolf queried and Colin nodded. “I need to get some oil colours… you know, the usual and I’d also like some shades of purple and some brushes, please.”
“Got that,” the boy replied. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
The boy disappeared behind a green curtain, leaving Rolf and Luna all by themselves in the shop. She stared at the crowded shelf, every once in a while contemplating the different red tones swirling inside the transparent recipients or simply running her fingers through the bushy brushes that lay still on the counter for the customers to examine.
“This shop is great,” she spoke, as Rolf watched her from between the shelves. He smiled and the leaned forward, picking a muggle magazine from the basket.
“Here, have a look…” he said, as he opened the magazine. “This was done by a muggle painter, Van Gogh. You see how detailed the sunflowers are? And how vivid they appear in contrast with the background? I like that about him,” he explained and she gaped. “He was rather odd, though…”
“Why would you say that?” Luna asked, while examining another picture of a man, which, by the title posted underneath it, must have been Van Gogh himself.
“He cut his ear off,” Rolf explained, while turning the page.
“The Wrackspurts must have got him too,” she reasoned, and he chuckled.
“You know what?” he said, as she beamed at him expectantly. “I think you are right…It makes perfect sense.”
They sat in silence for a while, Rolf turning the pages of the art magazine and Luna curiously gazing at them, analyzing every face with such interest and passion as though she had been fond of paintings since forever. Their quiet contemplation of different masterpieces of the muggle world was suddenly interrupted when Colin returned to the scene, holding a brown case in his hands. He placed it on the counter and then started typing something on the big cash point in front of him. Rolf pocketed his jeans and took out the precise sum of money needed to pay the purchase and after greeting Colin, they emerged from the shop, carrying the parcel along.
“You have muggle money?” Luna asked, as they walked forwards, walking past a clothes shop.
“My grandfather keeps some at home for us to use. It’s quite necessary when you live so near a muggle town,” he explained and Luna nodded. “Now, turn right…let’s enter this alley where no one can see us. I’d like to shrink this package.”
She did as told and when they made sure they were out of sight from any muggle intruder, she proceeded with the shrinking of the parcel. He took it in his hands, now looking at a button sized box, and congratulated her for her artistry. He then stuffed it into his jeans pocket and together they emerged again to the main road.
“Look, Luna!” he said while pointing at a window shop, some feet away from them. “The boxes that I’ve told you about…!”
“Oh, indeed!” she added. He grabbed her tighter by the hand and as they approached she gaped. “They do resemble our paintings; you were right…Hey! Sir?” she addressed the muggle reporter while knocking soundly on the window that separated them, making the shop assistant inside frown.
“Don’t bother,” he muttered disappointed. “They don’t reply, whatever you tell them. Look, he just talks like a loony-man.”
Luna chuckled. “That’s how some of my colleagues called me, when I was at school. Loony Lovegood…”
“But that’s just awful,” he admitted, while grabbing her hand again and looking straight at her. She turned her gaze towards the talking man and tilted her head as he began commenting the weather.
“Not really,” she spoke dreamily. “You get used to it at one point. People tend to fear what is unknown to them, so in their attempt to camouflage it they do tend to bespatter those who aren’t scared of speaking the truth. At the beginning I would get all upset about it, but then I met Ginny and the rest and it didn’t seem to matter anymore.”
“Children just like to be mean sometimes,” he added, rather assuring himself. “Do you reckon he’s alive?” he asked hoping that it would stray them from the awkward talk that Luna appeared to be rather fond of.
She analyzed the man who was vividly gesticulating over a map where all of the sudden had been covered by grey patches that resembled to children drawn clouds that poured rain. She frowned, feeling that for once she couldn’t find a decent explanation for his behaviour.
“He looks like it…” she replied slightly saddened by the thought that the Ravenclaw in her had so urgently submitted itself to ignorance. “I’m not sure, but I’ll surely ask Hermione about it this Friday.”
“Speaking of Friday…” Rolf added, wedging his hands. “We’ve been invited to a party… It’s my best friends’ birthday and he’s having this thing at his place. Thought you’d like to accompany me…”
“A party, you say?” she asked flabbergasted. She had not attended a celebration since Harry had so kindly taken her along to Slug’s Christmas party. She had gone there, then, as friend of Harry and she hadn’t had so much fun-not that anyone could have enjoyed themselves at the sight of a hungry vampire or even Slughorn, himself, who just like his ‘creepy’ guest, liked to suck out the fame, rather than blood out of his students.
“Of course, if you don’t want to come…it’s fine. I understand it…better things to do…” he started rambling possible excuses and then shifted her gaze from her, back to the box.
“I’d love to go there,” she replied while suddenly grabbing his hand. “With you…”
He smiled and then dragged her along the path, leading her to what appeared a massive, tall building with matching doors that now swung open, inviting people to step inside. He squeezed her hand assuring her that it was alright and as they walked past the grand door, Luna was greeted by the most pleasuring smell her nostrils had ever felt, or at least ranking second spot, preceding the one that her mother’s perfume had. She could not make out how the air smelled like, though with every intake of breath her lungs were filled with the infesting and almost intoxicating odour that she found so remotely fascinating.
At a second glance around her she knew they had entered the market that Rolf had so wonderfully spoken about the day before. She noticed the stocked shelves with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, exactly like Rolf had described it, and as she looked at him to seek his approval to go forwards, she saw a big red basket in his right hand. He slightly lifted it and then cocked his left eye brow, thus inviting her to venture between the stuffed racks.
She leaned over a large box that covered half of a shelf and dragged a big round orange from it. She looked at it curiously and then pressed it to her nose trying to figure out whether the smell that circled the room had been produced by it. Rolf pushed the basket forward, gesticulating that she should put it inside.
“Can we take this?” she asked, suddenly halting.
“Of course,” he replied quite self-assured. “You can take whatever you want… But beware, because you must eat them afterwards,” he joked and Luna gave out a rather grating laughter that caught the eye of several people around them.
She placed the orange in the basket and as Rolf pointed at a nearby shelf, she moved further, still glancing curiously at everything displayed. He picked up a brown coloured ball, with a fluffy surface, that seemed to fit his palm perfectly. He threw it in the air and then caught it between his long fingers, and as Luna displayed an interest in it, he gave it to her without any further ado.
“Oh…” she squealed, upon sensing the fluffy surface. “It feels like Arnold, Ginny’s Pygmy Puff. What is this?”
“This is a kiwi,” he explained while approaching her. “Sniff it…”
She did as told and as she placed her nostrils close to the brown fruit and started sniffing soundly, she felt a delightful sensation taking over her head. It was sweet, in a sinful way almost, and every parting of one’s nose from it would unmistakably lead to a desire to feel the smell again. After several recesses, Luna finally allowed herself to focus on Rolf’s mischievous sneering. She smiled and his malevolent jeer disappeared from his lips, being replaced by a resembling mimic, quite much like Luna’s.
“How did it feel like?” he asked as she placed the fruit in the basket, along with the orange, deciding that she should definitely take a bite from it.
“Good,” Luna replied, quite speechless as a matter of fact. “It was like… magic!”
Her crystal clear blue eyes beamed at him and before she could say anything else, he leaned over and sealed her slightly opened mouth with his own lips. Some elderly women glared at them, soundly muttering something about young people not having a scrap of common sense and education in them, but Rolf could hardly even focus on something else apart from their clasped mouths. He seized his left hand on her neck, fondly caressing Luna’s goose-bumped skin and as he grew more aware of the staunchly gaze of a shop assistant and the many malevolent glances of the two women he had heard mumbling, he drew his lips apart from hers and pulled her closer to him.
Her head now rested on his shoulder, slightly tilted towards his neck hoping her nose would engulf the tempting smell of his masculine cologne. His hand had glided smoothly around her neck and was now rubbing the soft skin stretching over the back bone, beneath the heaviness of the long blond hair that as always looked very much dishevelled.
He did not know why he had chosen that particular moment, or even that particular place, for such display of affection- the affection that he hardly allowed himself to believe he felt. He could have let such outburst to break at home, while in the garden when their kiss would be confined between the apple trees or even in her bedroom as he would come to wake her up and invite her to another adventure. He didn’t even know why he had asked her to accompany him to the party, knowingly still that she was bound not to fit in there.
His friends were hardly the people that would find Luna an enjoyable and engaging presence. She was too smart, too fragile and yet there was something utterly indulging about having her by his side that night, for some reason. She glanced around and at the sight of a roughly known vegetable she estranged herself from his clutch and grabbed what appeared to Rolf, like a carrot.
“Look, one that I know!” she shouted enthusiastically, discarding the inquiring looks of those around them. “Mrs. Weasley had plenty in her garden,” she explained while putting it down again.
“But a carrot can hardly be called an adventure, can it?” he asked steadily approaching her and bouncing the basket in his hand. “Now that’s something interesting…” he went while pointing at the strangest, yet cutest think Luna had ever seen.
“Oh…” she gasped. “It looks like a giant potato with green hair.”
Rolf let out a chortle. A pineapple, as a potato that had been submitted to an engorging charm and then, as a touch of humour, had been added bulging green strands of hair, was not exactly the image that one would picture. But then, Luna was not everyone- she was different and very much susceptible to what appeared normal to those around her. In a way, that comforted Rolf.
“It’s called pineapple, Luna,” he spoke after ceasing with the raging giggle. “It grows in very tall trees, in Africa. Look, you can taste those! Here, have a bite and then tell me how it feels like…”
He pushed a gold coloured piece of what once looked like a doughnut and as Luna engulfed, he surrendered his own senses to the contemplation of her bewildered face expression as the sweetness of the fruit tickled her tasting buds.
“So…tell me,” he spoke after she chewed the last bit.
“It was sweet, very sweet,” she replied beaming at him with her big bulging eyes that seemed to stick out more whenever he would gaze at her.
“Oh, come on…” he pledged. “You can do better than that. Described it… you were a Ravenclaw, weren’t you? Wit, if I’m not mistaken, is regarded as their distinctive trait, isn’t it?”
“Quite true,” she replied, vividly remembering the scribbled words on which her whole life had revolved ‘wit beyond measure it’s a man’s greatest treasure’. “Hmmm… it was indulging in a secluded manner, not too revealing about its grasp upon the senses but nevertheless, quite up fronted about its charming flavour. It slides through the teeth, making it harder to chew but when you’ve struggled to squeeze the juice, the true reward is finally showed-off. It’s like…things that I’ve felt before,” she explained.
“Like the first day of spotless skies in March, or the torrential rains that drown the hotness on August…or my mother’s perfume.”
There was a long pause that Luna did not seek to break and by the looks of his flushed cheeks, Rolf was not prone to end it anytime soon. That had been yet another of those moments when Luna would say what tended to abash people and particularly Rolf who had never experienced the things that Luna had been trough and therefore could not offer her the comfort she needed. And just when things had started to get even more embarrassing, Luna spoke again and the tension seemed to have diminished along with the slumberous tone of her voice.
“But what does it feel like for you?”
“It feels like the wildest of dreams, sugary and slippery; like… the fruit flavoured popsicles, yet not crusty and sandy-like they do. It feels odd but most pleasant at the same time…” he chimed but Luna did not seem to be satisfied with his answer.
“What does it make you remember?” she insisted while grabbing a big pineapple and placing in the basket.
“You…” he replied and curiously looked for her gaze.
She blushed. This time it was her turn to succumb herself to the abashing silence and deep within her mind, try to make a single coherent sentence that supposedly would make a good response to his words. But at that moment, with his eyes fixing her, her cheeks having awkwardly gained a scarlet complexion and the shivering hand that nearly touched his, things such as logic did not seem to be important any longer.
He didn’t speak and neither did she, but somehow there was something refreshing about the hush between them. He put his arm around her shoulders and together parted towards the cash point to pay for their purchase. The sun had lifted its majestic glitter on the third quarter of the sky and Luna and Rolf still had to take a rest at the local pub and have a cup of tea, as he had promised her they would do.
Perhaps, Mrs. Scamander would not complain tonight if they arrived a little late for dinner.
AN. Thank you to all my reviewers and to all the wonderful people who have recommended and nominated When Luna met Rolf. You are fantastic group of people whom I adore!
Chapter 12: The Party
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Luna sat in the Leaky Cauldron with her two best friends in the world, Ginny and Hermione, at the endmost table of the bar where the curious glances of the many wizards who had stopped by the famous inn that day would not interrupt their little chit-chat. They had been walking by foot all day long, helping Ginny with the preparations of her huge wedding. They had gone to the caterer to check the menu that her mother had so gladly agreed to pick, had taken a detour on Flourish and Blotts to choose the final set of invitations for the Ministry officials and only after they had crossed every appointment in their schedule did they allow themselves to pay Madam Malkin a visit.
Hermione had brought along a cut from a muggle magazine where she had spotted a nice design that they could use for the bridesmaids dresses. Luna had found it truly delightful and after getting Ginny’s approval on the colour, they had ordered Madam Malkin, identical sets of robes and dresses to match. While Luna had gazed around for something to wear that same night at the party that she and Rolf were to attend, Ginny had stepped out of the dressing room, wearing what was to be her wedding gown. She looked fantastic indeed and Luna and Hermione had both agreed that she was to be the most beautiful bride that Ottery St. Catchpole had ever seen. They had cried, had laughed and had had so much fun imagining Harry’s face at the sight of a ravishing looking Ginny walking down the aisle to him.
Their loud giggles could be heard even by Tom, who still hid his face beneath the glasses set up on his bar, but no one in the room felt bothered by the noises. Instead, they would smile contentiously at them and as soon as they recognized Ginny, they would bow their hats at her, knowing that she was getting married with the Boy Who Lived. Luna felt utterly good that day, because she had sorely missed a nice little gossip with the girls and the approaching wedding was indeed a rather pleasing matter to discuss. She knew that as from that moment, they would hardly get to see each other until September, because surely Ginny would be stuck with all the preparations. Hermione was busy trying to get a bill through the Wizengamot to increase the life quality of house elves and still trying to help her future sister-in-law with all there was to be done.
As for her, well, Luna would stay in Dorset, working for Mr. Scamander and spend her free time in the company of his grandson, Rolf. She had not told the girls about her thing with Rolf, or whatever one could call their connection- not because she didn’t want to, but mostly since she had not had a good opportunity to introduce her friends to the changes going on with her life. She watched Hermione telling a story about how Ron had jumped from the bed in their first night in the new flat at the sight of tiny scrawny spider that had crawled on the wall, to which Ginny laughed heartedly.
“And he kept shouting ‘Hermione, kill it! Kill it right now!” Hermione spoke barely controlling her raging laughter.
“Tell me you didn’t crush it! Tell me you left him anguished all night long!” Ginny shouted while erasing the tears that had rushed on her face from too much laughter.
“Oh,” Luna cried out. “You couldn’t have done that, Hermione…”
“No, of course not,” she replied while taking another sip from her tea. “I’m not that mean…but the look on his face was…priceless.”
The girls giggled soundly while a middle-aged woman turned around and smiled at the sight of their happy faces. It seemed to Luna that after Voldemort and all they had been through, people had learned to value a good hearted laughter. It was almost like ointment to rub on the many wounds that had shaken their bodies and their hearts during the war. She suddenly had the impression that all that the world needed right now, to heal, was a big wide grin flaunting on everyone’s faces.
“Oh… I haven’t laughed like that in ages,” Ginny spoke, while finally managing to cease her raging giggles. “I’ve missed you Luna…”
“Me too,” she replied happily.
She glanced outside on the wide open window, giving a nice view towards Diagon Alley, thinking of Rolf and if indeed he was missing her like he had said he would. She needed something to wear that night, as he had told her that it was a rather fancy party. She felt somewhat anxious because she would get to meet his best friends and from what she had heard they were quite finical. She had never sought to impress people, but suddenly being liked by Rolf’s friends seemed like such a big deal.
“So, tell us what you’ve been up to in Dorset…” Hermione inquired curiously.
“I’ve been on a field trip with Mr. Scamander, Gustav- the other assistant and apprentice- and… Rolf,” she explained, and Ginny grinned.
“Who is Rolf?” she asked winking. “The name sounds…nice.”
“He’s Mr. Scamander’s grandson,” she responded, gazing out on the window again.
“And you don’t happen to fancy him, do you?” Hermione joked, for she knew by the look on Luna’s face as she answered Ginny’s question that she liked that Rolf.
“But I do fancy him and…” Luna spoke, obviously not understanding the sarcasm in Hermione’s voice.
“And he fancies you back!” Ginny concluded, clapping her hand noisily. “Oh… tell us, more! Please…”
“What would you like me to tell you?” Luna said, with the same naïve tone of voice as if she had no idea what the girls needed to know.
“Luna… the usual: time, place, how, actions implied and their degree of satisfaction!” Ginny spoke a bit too loud, but surely very much lovingly.
“Hmmm…” Luna murmured and then sighed. “Well we were on the trip and Gustav got food poisoning and Mr. Scamander had to stay behind with him; so Rolf and I went on working in the woods all by ourselves. I guess it was around midday and it started raining and he kissed me…” she explained blushing vividly, much to the girls’ pleasure.
“On a scale of one to ten, how would you rank him? My Harry was an 8.5 when I first kissed him…Now, he’s a ten,” Ginny boasted and Luna blushed yet again. “What?” she spoke after Hermione had thrown her a nasty glance. “Didn’t you rank Ron?”
“Yes, of course,” she admitted. “But I had someone else with whom to compare. I’m sure Luna found it very much pleasing.”
“Oh, yes, indeed…. It was a first kiss, but a good one!” she spoke truthfully. Indeed the kiss that Rolf had given her that day had been wonderful. She had never felt more elated than that cosy afternoon when they had darted away from the pouring rain, finding shelter beneath the heavy branches of an old tree where their lips had met for their very first, but surely not last time.
“And I presume that you are now a couple…” Ginny added.
“I guess we are,” Luna replied. “He’s taking me to a party tonight, actually. It’s his best friend’s birthday.”
“Oh for goodness’ sake Luna,” Hermione complained. “Hurry up with that pumpkin juice. We’ve got to buy you something for the party. You can’t go there wearing jeans, can you?”
Luna smiled and by doing that she was virtually thanking Hermione for having thought of her. She drank her juice in a heartbeat and upon emerging from the Leaky Cauldron they walked over to Madam Malkin’s again to get Luna into trying some other types of clothes than those she would have usually gone for.
Luna glanced at her reflection in the mirror and all of the sudden she felt like a new, different person; yet it did not frighten her as such thought or mere impression would have made her feel on a regular basis. It was refreshing, just like the cold rain dripping between their clasped mouths in that hot afternoon, like the stare in his eyes as she ogled him or the assurance that his hand clasping hers always provided. She wore a short silver dress, with bare shoulders and a rather tempting cleavage.
She had pulled her hair in a bun, but this time she had not used her wand. She would place it in her purse- the one that both Ginny and Hermione had offered to pay for as a gift for the brand new life that Luna had commenced in Dorset.
She smiled at herself, curiously analyzing the dark grey shade on her eyelid, a make-up trick that Ginny had taught her that same afternoon. She thought she looked nice, almost too good than she would have ever though she would. She hoped Rolf would think the same.
Luna felt nervous, for she had never been introduced as someone’s girlfriend and now that she was minutes away from doing just that, she didn’t know how to react. Should she be shy and introvert? Should she mingle with people and chat the night away with his friends? After a brief second of contemplation, she realized that the best way of handling this new situation was by being herself. How were his friends supposed to like someone that she was not? She would be Luna, the Luna she knew…the one that Rolf liked…the one that her friends had missed.
She would not restrain herself and surely she would not let people believe that she was something else. She would be truthful to those around her and to herself; if Rolf liked her the way she was then she saw no reason why they would not feel the same…
With those very thoughts swirling in her mind, she grabbed her purse, put her wand inside and then emerged from her room. She went downstairs, where she knew that Rolf would be waiting, probably all dressed up and glancing every once in a while at his expensive wrist watch (a gift from his father when he had come of age) to check if indeed they were on time.
Her assumptions had been true, for the very second that she descended the last sequence of steps, she noticed Rolf- who was wearing a very dashing suit that emphasized his regular elegance- sitting in the main lobby, wedging his hands and glancing relentlessly at his watch.
As he heard her footsteps he gazed up and at the sight of her angelic facial features and the daintily manner in which her legs crossed as she descended, he gaped. He had never seen anyone looking half as beautiful as she looked tonight. She had done something to her hair, her eyes seemed to beam even more powerful from the pit and her lips wore a delicate shade of pink that only outlined the perfect contour. Her short dress revealed a pair of fit legs, whose shimmering skin seemed to be so soft that Rolf could hardly control his eagerness to run his fingers over them.
She averted her gaze to him and for the first time he felt like the air had become insufficient, almost toxic at some point. Independently from him, he sensed his right arm extending forward and grabbing her soft hand, then gently leading her to the door. She spoke of nothing yet her silence assured him that indeed it had been a good choice to ask her to come with him.
He had been worried all week long about this silly party; about how would his friends react at the sight of her, if they would like her and most importantly if she would enjoy their presence. But now that he saw her, in all her grace and beauty, it seemed like nothing could go wrong that night. She had that poise that he had looked all his life in a woman, yet forever preserving that shyness that made him feel like a child again.
“You look wonderful,” he finally managed to whisper as he opened the door for her.
“Thank you,” she replied while clutching to her purse. “You’re looking quite dashing as well.”
He sniggered and then led her outside, without even bothering to look behind and say goodbye to his grandparents who had been spying on them all along from the dinning room, whose door was creaked enough as to allow them to see their figures in the lobby.
“You haven’t told me who your friend is…” Luna added while allowing Rolf to guide her to the exit gate, where an apparition was possible.
“Come to think of it…” he spoke, preserving the hushed tone of voice. “I believe you know him, or at least you might have heard of him. His name is Blaise Zabini. Does it sound familiar?”
“Oh…quite familiar!” she responded. “I guess he was in Slytherin, a year older though. And I remember that he was in Slug Club.”
“Slug Club…? What is that?” Rolf queried.
“Our Potions teacher, the one we had in my fifth year, his name was Slughorn; he had a habit of favouring students which he would gather in these famous parties… Slug Club of elites,” she replied and he frowned.
“Were you in this club?”
“Oh dear, no!” she said, quite alarmed. “I accompanied Harry to the Christmas Party because he had no one to go to and it was actually important that he went…But other than that, I’ve had no contact with it. I didn’t really have time to attend the parties…”
He nodded and then opened the tiny gate, leading on the main road.
They apparated on a dim lighted street, bordered by giant trees, whose branches bended to the ground, and every once in a while by tall wrought iron lamp posts that apart from their bohemian aspect, had no real use for the light they cast upon the street was insufficient. Rolf clutched to her hand and then started pacing along the narrow and apparently deserted street.
And then as they moved forward, Luna started making out the sound of music reverberating from the distance. She was sure that the house of Blaise Zabini was closer than the music allowed to be approximated. They stepped from the shadow and Luna noticed a tall brick wall margining the sidewalk, upon which the branches of the flourishing trees supported their weight.
They followed the line of the wall and after pacing for a short distance they reached the main gate, guarded by two gate posts so impressive and towering that their mere sight send shivers down Luna’s spine. Rolf took his wand from the hidden pocket of his coat and pushed it inside the round locket of the latch, making the gate swung open in an instant.
He grabbed her hand again, this time intertwining his fingers with hers, and walked straight forward, carefully stepping on the perfect green grass. The house was huge and for a split second Luna thought she was walking into Malfoy Manor again, like she had done it a while before, following her kidnapping in the Express. The Manor house was handsome indeed, with big grey walls and round archways that appeared to resemble those of a cathedral.
The windows were all covered by stained glass, immortalizing all sorts of blossoming roses and starry skies beneath which the faded shades of lovers kissed. They reached the front door which had a Z printed on the knocker and as Rolf sensed the shivering hand resting in his, he stopped.
He cupped her face all this time looking straight into her big eyes that seemed to have lost their dreaminess and all of the sudden had gained a peculiar aura of anxiety.
“Hey…” he mumbled trying to reassure her. “It’s going to be alright. I think you’re going to like them. They’re a bit wild sometimes, but who isn’t?”
“It’s not that,” she replied. “It’s them actually that could not like me.”
“Oh…don’t worry about that! I don’t care that much about what they think, anyway. One valuable piece of advice…don’t get too friendly with Mrs. Zabini, Blaise’s mum.”
“Why?” Luna asked.
“Well, she’s alright! Don’t get me wrong, but she can be pretty creepy if she wants to. Plus, she’s got some distorted ideas about life, which you won’t like.”
She smiled and he did the same gesture. “Now let’s go inside…I bet there’s a great party waiting behind the door,” he spoke again as he banged the knocker.
A scrawny, ragged-dressed house elf opened the door and greeted them inside. He picked up the gift that Rolf had carried in his hidden pocket and then urged them to join the gathering that apparently was taking place in the drawing room. Luna watched the dismal décor, the high mirrors covering most of the walls, the many paintings belonging to both wizard and muggle artists- some of them quite luxurious, or so it seemed- and the crystal chandelier hanging above the entry hall. Rolf squeezed her hand and she smiled again, this time actually feeling it like a natural mimic.
“Why are there so many mirrors?” she asked curiously analyzing their reflection as they passed before yet another reflecting glass.
“Zabini and his mum are very much conceited,” he sniggered. “They like to admire themselves all day long!”
As she barely managed to control the giggling he walked her over to a long corridor at the end of which, voices and the thunderous sound of music could be heard. He pushed the mahogany door open, revealing the most impressing room Luna had ever seen. It was circular, the walls were covered by colourful paintings, emblazoning men and women who must have been family at some point, luxurious pieces of furniture, a big round table on which house-elves were still placing full to the brim dishes and in the middle there was a huge gathering of young people.
Some of them sat on the antique sofas or on the comfortable-looking armchairs, others were leaning on the counter of the bar, while the majority of people were standing up engaged in vivid conversations. She noticed the black boy who had once belonged to the house of Salazar Slytherin sitting next to the spectacular purple piano that seemed to be the centre point of the whole room.
“Hey, Scamander!” a voice resounded through the room and everyone turned their heads towards them, making Luna blush.
“Damian,” spoke Rolf as he patted a blue-eyed young man on the back. “How are you?”
“Brilliant,” he replied. “Zabini, come here you rag!”
Blaise Zabini approached his friends and hugged Rolf first, then shook hands with him, as though they had not seen each other in quite a while.
“Guys,” Rolf said and Luna shuddered. “This is Luna, Luna Lovegood.”
“I think I know her, already,” spoke Zabini, but still stretched his hand briefly meeting hers.
“Luna, this is Damian Krueger,” Rolf spoke.
“It’s nice to meet you both,” murmured Luna and the boys sniggered to each other.
“Please, do take a seat!” Zabini pledged. “I still have to work my charms on the witty witch there…Elvira, darling!” Luna heard him muttering while moving forward.
They advanced to the sofas, where Rolf and Luna accommodated themselves next to Damian and a good-looking girl, with long black hair who spoke rather loud and did not seem to be bothered by the glares thrown at her whenever she laughed. She introduced herself immediately as Irina Nyx-Poe and as Luna shook hands with her, she glanced at Rolf who grimaced disapprovingly.
“She likes to gossip too much, so be careful what you tell her,” he advised her, bearing a jolly twitch in his voice.
“Oh, then I shall not speak that much,” Luna replied pensively.
She glanced around the room, but she did not seem to find any face familiar figures until she looked in the direction of the place where the armchairs stood circumventing a round coffee table. There he was, Draco Malfoy, with his blonde hair and striking grey eyes. He wore a smart robe and the goblet he held in his hand shone in the candle light. He glanced at her and she noticed the flabbergasted expression plastered to his face.
She knew that he still felt sorry for having been his house the one that had been a cellar for her. She knew he regretted everything that had happened there, the torturing that Voldemort had made him do and the Cruciatus that he had so often performed on her against his will. Luna could guess in his eyes the shame of having met her there, in his playground.
Then, two girls approached him, whose faces now Luna vaguely remembered from school. They had been also in Slytherin and they were sisters: Daphne and Astoria Greengrass. The younger sister, with long sleek blonde hair stretched her hand meeting Draco’s as Daphne was probably introducing them.
“Rolf,” Luna whispered, as he squeezed her hand. “Do you know Draco Malfoy?”
“Erm…not really,” he replied rather unaware as to why she needed to know. “I’ve met him once at a party before the war started, but that’s all. We’re not friends or anything. Oh, right, you were locked in his house for six months, weren’t you?”
“Yes,” she responded gravely. “And those are the Greengrass sisters, right?”
Rolf nodded and then she smiled at him, quite contented about the information that he had just given her. There was a loud thud making everyone cease their rambling and avert their gazes towards the entrance door, through which a tall, beautiful black woman entered the room, accompanied by a Siberian tiger. The animal seemed to be rather peaceful as he allowed his mistress to drag him along with the help of a leather leash. The collar around his neck was encrusted with rubies that matched the sparkling red rock of her impressive ring.
The woman, who bore a striking resemblance to Blaise, wore a long silky black dress that fitted her curvy body and a pure white fur collaret that Luna guessed that had once been an arctic fox. She strutted towards the purple piano, smiling as she noticed Blaise and as they met she gently pulled him in a tender embrace and then kissed his forehead in a motherly manner.
“That’s Zabini’s mum,” Rolf explained, leaning over whispering softly to her ear.
“Are the rumours true?” Luna asked curiously. “I’ve heard that…”
“That she had seven husbands who are dead now, right?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“Well, yes, she was married to seven men and they’re all dead. But the circumstances of their death…hmm, they are odd indeed,” Rolf spoke rather worried as he noticed that both his friend and his mother were approaching their sofa. “Here they come.”
“Good evening, darlings,” Mrs. Zabini spoke and some of the guests lifted their red wine glasses as though drinking in her honour. Some of the girls rushed to greet her to which she smiled casually, but everyone could guess by the look on her face that she did not thought them as worthy enough to even stay in the same room as she did. She then noticed Rolf with what it seemed like a peculiar girl on the sofa and headed straight to them.
“Rolf,” she addressed him lovingly while extending her hand for him to kiss it. “I haven’t seen you in quite a while…”
“I’ve been busy Mrs. Zabini,” he replied courteously. “Let me introduce you to my girlfriend…Mrs. Zabini, this is Luna Lovegood. Dear, this is Blaise’s mother.”
Luna stretched her hand meeting the woman’s but this time Mrs. Zabini did not make any gesture, which needless to say would allow anyone to affirm that Luna had made a good first impression.
“Cassandra Zabini Cavanaugh Beauchamp Jung Mollyneux Castellis Richardson Trafford,” the woman recommended herself and Luna smiled.
“That it’s a rather long name, Mrs. Zabini,” she replied and everyone stared at her as though she had said a blasphemy. Cassandra Zabini laughed heartedly and the atmosphere seemed to have lightened up along with her raging giggle.
“She’s an honest girl, Rolf,” she said, while brushing his shoulder affectionately and then marching off from the room, through a side door, dragging the white Siberian tiger along.
The music started thudding and as soon as the joyful tune of the enchanted piano began filling the room again, everyone succumbed themselves in vivid conversations or shameless flirting, in the case of Blaise and that Elvira witch, who did not seem the type of woman to resist someone like him. Luna felt hot suddenly and asked Rolf to excuse her for a while as she needed some fresh air.
He pointed a back door that apparently would lead her to the terrace and as she lifted from the sofa he grabbed her hand and kissed it softly, making her blush. She headed to the door and as she opened it she was greeted by the most beautiful view she had ever seen. Tall trees rose mighty from the ground, their green leaves fluttering wildly in the chilly wind and a deep valley lay ahead of the manor house that stood on the top of a hill, as Luna now realized.
She approached the balustrade and then allowed the air of the night to protrude her nostrils.
As her mind wandered off to the many reasons why this party made her feel uncomfortable, she heard steps behind her. She turned around and it was then that she noticed just how beautiful and elegant Cassandra Zabini was. Her chocolate brown hair was pulled in a loose bun, some thin curly strands hanging on her bare shoulders and the briskly green eyes that contrasted with her black skin seemed to resemble a cat’s. She approached Luna and then let go of the tiger, which preferred to rest next to her feet rather than enjoy a cosy walk around the wide terrace.
“Boring party, right Luna?” she stated rather than asking, but Luna felt compelled to reply though at no point had Cassandra needed an answer.
“Not necessarily,” Luna spoke and Mrs. Zabini smiled after taking a sip from her red wine glass. “It depends who’s talking…Blaise seems to be having fun.”
Luna sighed, “I’m new.”
“You don’t fit, do you? You see, I could tell that by mere looking at you…You’re not like that girl…Irvina.”
“Irina…” Luna corrected her politely but Cassandra didn’t seem to bother for such trifles.
“They are going to crush you, you know?” the woman spoke, while patting her tiger. “Men, I mean…not just Rolf. You see that little fence over there?” she said while pointing towards the eastern side of the house. “That’s a little cemetery for my dead, very dead husbands.”
Luna bent over a bit and as she turned her gaze towards the wrought iron fence she indeed noticed some tomb stones all lined up behind the grill. Above the kissing gate she could make out the shape of an iron carved heart beneath which there was a big post saying “when you've told someone that you've left them a legacy the only decent thing to do is to die at once”.
She thought that it was quite a funny thing to write on the gate of a cemetery.
“I buried them all…” Mrs. Zabini said with a cold tone of voice and Luna smirked.
“You don’t believe me,” she replied pensively. “I guess it doesn’t really matter now…All that is left of them is their memory and the money they’ve left me with. Why mourn when I can just go and buy myself a fur?”
Luna gazed at the woman. She was strange in a way not even she was. There was something cold about her eyes that did not seem to convey the warmth of a regular mother like she liked to think of herself, or the grieving widow of seven loving and very rich husbands. As Rolf had warned her, the woman’s views upon life and men in general were not at all congruent to Luna’s and merely standing there, inches away from her and listening to her ‘caring advice’ felt somewhat consumptive for an eighteen year old girl who just happened to be very much in love.
“People like Rolf don’t change darling,” Cassandra went on talking. “It would be a pity to spoil such beauty of the spirit as you seem to possess; because that’s what you are doing now…I am the woman whom men have always fallen in love with… more men than the fingers on both of your hands, dear. And I can tell by mere glancing at you that you will not make it through a man like Rolf Scamander.”
“How would you know that?” Luna asked, quite offended.
“Because of all those men who lay now six feet beneath the ground…Burry them, or else they will burry you,” Mrs. Zabini spoke and then turned around and left Luna all by herself on the terrace.
She thought of Rolf and how he was different from the seven husbands that apparently Mrs. Zabini had not just buried but also gave a push into the grave holes they were now occupying. No one could ever match his eyes, his tender kisses or his caring whispers. He was not just another man that broke hearts with the same fluency as though changing a pair of socks. He understood her in a way not even her friends had managed and simply being comprehended entirely made Luna feel like she had been gifted that day when she had first set foot in the Scamander house. Rolf was right; she should not have related much with Cassandra.
She left the spot and headed straight to the door from where she had emerged minutes before, decided to break the ice with Rolf’s friends.
AN I would like to take a moment and thank all those wonderful people who have voted this story for the Dobbys. It is now a finalist for two categories, Best Post-Hogwarts and Best Story Graphic. A big hug and many many kisses go out to you my dears for being so dedicated in both reviewing and faving this story. This chapter is for you all:D Unfortunately, I will be away for two weeks on holiday(Spain and Portugal) and I won't be able to update or to respond to reviews. But rest assured, I will get back to each and every one of you! Roe
PS. The quote on the cementery gate belongs to Samuel Butler.
Chapter 13: Stairway to Heaven
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Rolf sat in his room, contemplating the infinite sea stretching before his window, and waiting for Luna to finish the assignments that his grandfather had trusted her with. He wished now that she did not have to work every morning in the office, for they could use that time much more efficiently.
But what really troubled him was the fact that she had to work with Gustav, out of all the people in the world. He hated seeing her off to the ground floor and watching his childhood rival entering the tiny chic office along with his girlfriend. And every time their gazes met, Rolf could swear that Gustav was enjoying a bit too much this situation.
Nevertheless, he smiled as he glanced at his watch only to realize that the afternoon was at its ending and soon enough Luna would put an end to her work and then would head off to see him. The past week with Luna had been perhaps the best in Rolf’s life, although he seldom admitted it, even to himself. He liked her even more than he would let show.
He liked her because she was a free spirit - the kind he longed to be - and because she had a certain gift to calm him when all he felt was anger boiling in his veins. She set him free and regardless of his degree of awareness towards this matter, it made him feel good about himself. He certainly found himself somewhat different when they were together for he had never said the things he said to Luna to anyone and definitely he had never done the gestures he’d do whenever she was around.
He had never been tender towards a woman, had never kissed with such passion and ever since their lips had sealed that day he knew that he could never be like that with another one. Yet, he could hardly understand why he felt that way or why was it that when she called his name, his heart would skip a beat. There were so many enigmas about her, about the way she made him feel that it was difficult not to enjoy the time they spent together. Indeed, she was the long awaited mystery…everything about her intrigued him in such manner that he would often spend his nights contemplating and trying to reveal the mysteries concealed by those mesmerizing blue eyes or to get to the bottom of the secrecy of her delicate hand gestures.
He could sniff the perfume of her hair as he sat by the window, though he knew that she wasn’t in the room. She was somewhere downstairs, probably completing her work and hopefully thinking of him. He looked at his hands-the ones that had held hers, that had caressed the soft skin on her back- and suddenly yearned to watch them snaking around her frail body or moving up and down on her arms.
Rolf abandoned the relaxing sight of the sea and headed towards the corner where all his yet unfinished works rested, covered by rags, so as to not allow Luna to even get a glimpse of them. He sat on his chair and unravelled one of the paintings, hoping to get some inspiration and finish it by nightfall. He picked up his brushes, dipped one of them into the muddy liquid of blue and started dyeing Luna’s dress from the picture.
The scene portrayed a young lady sitting by a big window, with curtains fluttering, wearing a vaporous short dress and glancing pensively at the landscape of the seaside. She was deepened in thoughts and her protuberant wide-opened eyes seemed to be lost somewhere in the distance. He allowed his brush to slide on the canvas, creating different effects on the dress. He smiled as he noticed the fallen-from-the-Moon face expression that Luna so often had when glancing outside the window of his room.
He heard a knock on the door and with a quick movement he covered the painting and allowed whom he knew to be Luna, inside.
“Hey,” he said upon noticing her entering. She leaned over to his side and kissed him while arduously clutching some files.
“What are you painting this time?” Luna asked as she sat on the bed, her bare feet dangling.
“The new one…with you, standing by the window,” he replied and then lifted to join her. “How was work?”
“Very much interesting,” she admitted and then placed the folders on a night stand. “Your grandfather talked to us about Abraxans and Fire-Slugs from Brazil.”
“Abraxans, they’re my favourite. I still remembered the first time I saw one. I was five, I guess, and grandfather took me to Italy where he had a friend who owned a herd. I had shown an interest in them in quite a while and he granted me this joy,” Rolf explained, while stretching on the bed with Luna lounging beside him. “What’s your favourite animal, Luna?”
“Hmmm… I’ll have to say Thestrals.”
“Thestrals, you say?” Rolf asked rather surprised. “Why do you like them?”
“Because they are different and people are afraid of them. You see, back then, when my mother died I was feeling rather down because of it. And one day I took a walk in the forest, near my house and it was then, that I saw them for the first time,” expounded Luna. “When I look at them, knowing the reason why I see them, I feel relieved because even though my mother is dead I still have something to tie me to her. It’s like…”
“Like a bridge between you and her,” Rolf continued.
“Quite true…I see Thestrals because someone I deeply loved is gone. I see them because I remember,” she spoke. “I’m not sure if you understand.”
“I think I do,” he replied pensively, while caressing her pale face. “Even though I’ve never had anyone close to me dying… I presume that Thestrals can make one feel better.”
“Yes and no,” she responded rather melancholically. “But in the end, what’s happiness without bitterness? I’ve learned to value each moment that I’m being granted because they never come back, one can not relive one’s life again…and one never knows; today may as well be the last day of our lives…”
“If today were your final day on earth what would you do?” Rolf asked and she smiled.
“Loads of things…I’d wake up and feel the fresh salty smell of the sea, then I would take a broomstick and fly over the golden fields…I’d go to my friends and hug them, and thank them for everything they’ve done for me,” Luna explained. “And as the night would set in I’d come back to this room to spend my last hours with you…”
“That’s a rather romantic view,” Rolf joked. “Some would do something more interesting than staying with me here.”
“There is no other place I’d rather be right now…” she said and Rolf found himself broad grinning, though at no point had he intended such gesture.
“I’ve got an idea…” he spoke while lifting from the bed quite abruptly. “You said that if today were the last day of your life you’d fly, right?”
“Yes, on a broomstick…but I don’t see what you mean,” Luna replied thoughtfully.
“Well, I thought that maybe we could do it, together,” he said. “But I’ve got something special…more exciting than a broomstick and quite faster.”
“Faster than a Firebolt?” she asked, obviously excited about the prospect.
“Yes, much faster than a Firebolt, though I must admit that my broomstick is the best! However I believe you will enjoy this ride. Come with me…”
He grabbed her hand, gestured her to leave the folders on the bed and then dragged her over to the door. They descended the stairs giggling and then he guided her to another set of steps, most probably leading to the basement. Luna had never been in that part of the house… in fact, she had never assumed that the long corridor on which she now strutted even existed.
Apparently, only the close members of the family knew about it and as Rolf unravelled this little secret, she felt pleased that she was worthy of such revelation. He lightened the tip of his wand, for the dim light provided by the burning candles did not provide enough for them even to step forward properly. They had reached the portrait of Rolf’s great-great-great-great grandfather, a rather chunky man with a long beard and wearing a nice set of green robes.
The black rimmed glasses flaunting on his aquiline nose were elegantly emphasized by a white sparkle dashed on both of the lenses. He seemed to be asleep.
“Good afternoon, Sylvanus,” said Rolf in a high pitched voice hoping that its use would manage to wake his ancestor, who obviously did not enjoy doing anything else but sleep.
“Is this your great-great-great-great grandfather? Mr. Scamander has mentioned him once…” Luna spoke, while glancing at Rolf.
“Yes, that’s him. He discovered the Occamy in one of his trips to India. He had a rather tragic death,” Rolf explained and Luna gaped. “He came across a Nundu in Africa and you know… instantly died. Sylvanus, come on, we don’t have the whole day ahead…”
The chunky man opened one eye and then, at the sight of Rolf, he broad grinned.
“Oh, my dear beloved heir…it’s been a while since we’ve last seen each other. What brings you here? Oh and I see you’ve brought along a nice little lady. Sylvanus Angus Tiberius Scamander, great-great-great-great grandfather of this young man,” he recommended himself in rather pompous manner that managed to make Luna giggle.
“Luna Lovegood, Sir,” she introduced herself, barely controlling an imminent laughter attack.
“I’ve got business that you need not know,” Rolf spoke politely and Sylvanus seemed rather pleased with his inheritor’s response.
“So as custom I must ask you a question in order to grant you access to the vault. I presume you are aware of that, aren’t you?” asked Sylvanus in the same elegant manner that Luna found truly amusing.
“Yes, go ahead… ask me whatever you please,” he replied.
“What animal resembles an overgrown ferret, can talk unlike many other beasts but his vocabulary consists mainly of insults and rude phrases?”
“That’s easy Sylvanus…It’s the Jarvey,” Rolf responded and she smiled. The portrait moved aside revealing a narrow corridor and as Rolf helped Luna mount through the hole exposed, he smirked. “You’re getting rusty…Maybe we should replace your portrait with Great-great Aunt Rhea’s…”
Luna laughed as the chunky man let out a sigh that did not seem to convey offence but a rather a deep sense of comprehension towards what Rolf had just said. He sure thought of himself as rather old too.
“Ingenious,” Luna spoke as the portrait moved on its rightful place again. “It slightly reminds me of Hogwarts… that’s how the Common Rooms and the dormitories are protected. The houses, except for the Ravenclaws, have to give passwords in order to enter their rooms. We had to answer questions but much more profound than the ones that he asked.”
“It was my grandmother’s idea, who actually attended Hogwarts and was a Ravenclaw,” he explained.
“Did she? I didn’t know…” she replied dumbfounded. “What is this?”
“You’ll see, hurry up!”
He rushed her to another door, which he opened by introducing his wand tip where the locket should have been. The door swung open with a creaking sound and as they emerged inside, Rolf ignited some of the old, odd-smelling candles that lay scattered all over the cramped shelves. As the room was bathed in light, Luna gazed around to see what precious possessions lay inside as to require such protection.
The room was very much impressive and apparently stuffed with all types of artefacts: some old, some new, but certainly each valuable in its own sort of way. There was a wizards’ chess set that must have been made quite a while ago and as Luna moved aside to take a closer look, Rolf followed her.
“This was given as a present to Sylvanus himself on his trip to India. It’s quite rare and I presume, expensive. My father is very fond of it. I, personally, like this goblin-made armour. Very valuable nowadays, I guess. It’s been in my family for a century now,” Rolf spoke as Luna listened to him attentively.
“Oh!” she exclaimed as she noticed a large pile of books sitting in a corner. “I guess they are rare, otherwise I don’t understand why they aren’t in the library.”
“True…There are some books here about creatures, some very old indeed. Old manuscripts of my ancestors but they are quite boring. What you should really be interested in are the forbidden ones… we have a couple about the Dark Arts, quite gruesome and disgusting I might say. My Great-great Uncle Desmond read them for his sheer amusement, but he was very much odd. I don’t think you’ll find them amusing… Now, I like this one; it’s about all the greatest families of wizards in history. We’re in there,” Rolf boasted. “It covers our entire blood-line since the very first member, but we weren’t Scamanders back then.”
“What were you called?”
“Haynsworth,” he replied and then moved aside towards a locked cabinet. “Now, inside this cabinet it’s the object of our interest and perhaps, one of the main reasons why this room is protected. Let’s see if I can remember how to open it,” he added dramatically, hoping to increase Luna’s tension. “You see, my grandfather is very fond of mysteries and likes to hide things in places he and only he would know, but he’s always had a soft-spot for me,” he added while scribbling an H on the door, making it swung open.
“Quite predictable…” said Luna, while approaching Rolf. “Everyone could have figured that out after spending some time in your grandfather’s company and seeing the Genealogy Tree of your family.”
“Hmm… you seem to have failed,” he replied playfully. “Luna, allow me to introduce you to the family’s most precious and illegal heirloom: the flying carpet!”
“Oh!” she exclaimed, her eyes opening wide as Rolf pulled out a roller that looked like a regular carpet. He spread it, revealing a luxurious flower pattern and a vivid-coloured margin.
“I’ve never seen one! This is just gorgeous…”
“Care to take a ride with me, young lady?” Rolf asked and she nodded happily.
“But won’t we get in trouble?” she asked suddenly remembering that such items were illegal to use in Britain.
“We’ll use a Dissilusionment Charm…I’m sure you know how to perform one, don’t you? As for my grandfather… what he neglects can’t hurt him,” Rolf assured her and she smiled, grabbing him by the hands and rushing to the door, eager to fly on a magic carpet.
Luna felt the familiar cold overtaking her body as Rolf performed the Dissilusionment Charm on her, after she had initially done it for him. She could not see him now, but before the chillness had reached her fingers, he had already clutched her hand. She smiled, still not realizing that Rolf could not see her face expression.
They mounted on what they both knew to be a flying carpet, now made invisible by means of the same spell and after Rolf patted the front side of the flying item, it took off with such speed that Luna barely managed to grab what appeared to be Rolf’s shirt and steady herself.
The moon had already risen on the first quarter of the sky, but this time it did not seem jealous as Rolf had imagined her to be that night when he had shown Luna the unicorns. That night, it seemed like their accomplice in this little mischief, the one that would discreetly lighten the path they should take and she would carry the secret along as she would fade away along with the dawn of a new day. He felt Luna’s fingers clutching his shirt so forcefully, afraid to let go of him. He could hear her breath accentuating every time the carpet flew higher and he could almost perceive the sound of her heart beating frantically in her chest.
“How do you feel?” he asked. “Should I fly slower?”
“No!” she responded excitedly. “It’s brilliant…Fly faster!”
“You’ve asked for it…hold on tight! Yuhuuu,” he shouted as he hastened the carpet.
Luna laughed as she felt the wind, her skirt and hair fluttering in midair. It felt wondrously to sit there, comfortably seated on the carpet, clutching Rolf, while her feet flanked his hips. They flew over the green flourishing hedges of the neighbours’, over the red roof-tiles of the Georgian houses of the town, over the little Muggle shop where Rolf had bought brushes and all those mesmerizing colours, in which he often painted their lives.
Together they surpassed a noisy flock of sea gulls that had lazily stretched their majestic wings, enabling them a cosy flight. As they emerged from the little town, Rolf handled the carpet towards the right where Luna could clearly see the sea extending in the infinite, somewhere meeting the full moon that seemed to have risen from within the waters. He slowed down as their eyes met the desolate sight of the endless sea and steadily allowed the carpet to lose altitude. Luna bent over and dipped her fingers in the dark water, feeling them slightly warmer.
She felt Rolf suddenly shifting position as they glided serenely over the calm surface of the sea and as she tried to make out his intentions, he took his wand out from the pocket and muttered something that Luna couldn’t understand. He then removed the Dissilusionment Charms of them and as his handsome traits were steadily revealed, Luna noticed that he was clutching something in his hands.
“Look,” he then said. “I’ve summoned it from the bottom of the sea. It’s yours,” he explained while giving her a hollow turquoise shelf. She took it with her shaking finger and analyzed it in the pale light of the moon. It felt soft, like silk, and the colour was nothing like Luna had ever seen. She pressed it to her chest as though feeling very much fond of it and then placed it into her little bag.
“Thank you,” she replied and then kissed him on the right cheek, like children did whenever they received a gift. “It’s beautiful…I’m going to make a necklace of it, or a bracelet. I’ve yet to decide.”
“You do your jewelleries all by yourself?”
“Sometimes,” she replied melancholically, suddenly remembering that she hadn’t done anything for quite a while now. “This bracelet was given to me by Hermione… But the necklace,” she said pointing at the butterbeer-cork jewel flaunting around her neck. “I did this one…it keeps the Nargles away. And the earrings are actually made of Dirigible Plumps, which enhance the capacity to perceive the extraordinary. Wearing them it’s like being bit by a gnome every day.”
“A gnome?” he laughed heartedly but she didn’t seem to be bothered by his sudden burst.
“Yes,” she replied. “Don’t you know that a gnome’s saliva possess a substance that allows us to become more aware of our inner magical abilities?”
“I didn’t know, actually,” he spoke kind of abashed by the situation. “It’s getting chilly…let’s go home.”
She nodded and as Rolf performed the Charm on her again, she reached out to him and hugged him. He smiled and then went on ensuring that she was perfectly confined from unwanted looks that would certainly bring them a lot of trouble.
Luna had just reached the kitchen when Igor, one of Mrs. Scamander’s favourite house-elves apparated. Luna flinched as she heard the familiar snap that accompanied the process and as she turned around she was greeted by the scrawny little creature that resembled so much to the one she had back home.
“Good evening, Miss Luna,” he said politely and bowing humbly. “What can Igor do for the young lady that Master Rolf is so fond of?”
Luna blushed at the hearing of his words but managed to control her urge to ask him how he had figured it out. “Master Rolf would like something to eat and asks if perhaps you would trust him one of the bottles that Mr. Scamander keeps locked in the cellars…”
“Oh, of course Miss Luna… Igor would be more than pleased to cater to Master Rolf’s wishes. Igor will send them to the bedroom in an instant,” the elf said and then prepared to disapparate.
“Igor,” Luna spoke loud.
“Yes, Miss Luna.”
“Did Mr. and Mrs. Scamander say anything about us missing dinner?”
“Igor is not allowed to speak of his Masters’ businesses but Igor can truthfully claim that it was all for the good,” the elf explained, much to Luna’s disappointment and then disapparated.
She returned to Rolf’s room with mixed feelings going round in her heart but at the sight of him, walking along the narrow dimly lit corridor in the same direction as she did, she felt all the contradictions fading away. He smiled and then invited her to enter the room where they had spent their time together for the past weeks. As he opened the door for her, she noticed a silver platter containing the things that Luna had asked Igor for, plus a little bowl full of strawberries.
“Compliments from the house-elves I guess,” Rolf joked while tasting a nice big crimson strawberry that looked delicious. “And let’s see what else we have got here…Caerphilly, flap-jacks, salmon grill and pudding…”
“Pudding…my favourite,” Luna exclaimed, clapping her hands. “I used to eat it until I’d burst out, when I was at Hogwarts. The house-elves were very good at it… Poor Dobby,” she said rather down.
“Who is Dobby?”
“A house elf that Harry freed from the Malfoys and who was later hired at Hogwarts. He died, rescuing me from the Manor, along with the rest of the prisoners. We buried him in Shell Cottage, Bill’s and Fleur’s place…”
Rolf found it somewhat strange that Luna and her friends had cared and mourned for a house-elf. He had never felt close towards any of the elves that his family had used for household during the years. He liked them, thought they were quite smart and reliable but certainly never had he sought in them a companion, like Luna and her friends had done. This was yet another thing that he was learning from her.
“Let’s eat,” he said, trying not to debate much on the elves subject. “This salmon grill looks tempting and the wine is a perfect match for it. Conjure some glasses darling…”
Luna grabbed her wand from behind her ear and instantly made two wine glasses appear out of thin air. She handed him one, while she took the other and as he poured the golden liquid she realized just how good Rolf made her feel. He was kind and quite assiduous as he always seemed to have an ace up his sleeve to amaze her with. He did not resemble any of the guys she had met before and it was in his uniqueness that she found relief. There she was living something extraordinary with someone extraordinary.
She sipped the liquid from her glass, all throughout it gazing at him relentlessly, not knowing what was about Rolf Scamander that made her heart beat so intensely. There was something about those deep green eyes that managed to put a spell on her in such manner, that whenever she would look into them she would forget all about herself. For a split second she would feel like a girl with no past and no future, but with the most exciting present one could ever achieve.
He approached her as she placed her glass on the desk, next to the plates. He cupped her face and suddenly felt a rush of deeply-rooted affection for her. She was beautiful in a natural sort of way – so pure and genuine. He realized then that there was no other person with whom he could share all these moments. She understood him in a way no one had ever done it, and such achievement was essential for Rolf.
He leaned over and kissed her with such passion that for a second Luna thought that he was going to crush her lips. She felt his right arm clutching her tighter and tighter, but at no time did she feel bruised by his forcefulness; it felt good and warm and heavenly in a way she had never experienced an embrace before. His right hand slid down on her neck, caressing the soft skin that felt so tempting every time he would touch it, and then allowed it to glide on her shoulder, slightly discarding the thin strap of her flowery patterned dress.
She opened her eyes and he instantly ceased kissing her rosy lips. She stared at him with such innocence emitting from her big blue eyes that Rolf could not help a dazzled grin to appear on his face. Her hands curled around his shoulders, she closed her eyes again and allowed him to kiss her again, this time inviting him to do it more passionately and recklessly. She unbuttoned his shirt with a sequence of lazy movements and as she removed it from his shoulders, carelessly throwing it on the floor, he pulled her closer, wanting to feel her body glued to his own.
And then, as her fingers twined with the dark strands of his hair, he lifted her with his strong arms, inviting her to wind her legs around his hips. She was astounded by her own daring but despite it, she went on kissing him with the same passion as if it were the last time. He carried her over to the bed without any objection on her behalf and then carefully laid her on the fluffy blanket. He leaned on top of her, supporting his weight on one hand while the other removed the other strap of her dress. She arched her back and he managed to unzip it with such facility, which indicated that he had done the very gesture so many times.
“Luna…” he heard himself whispering.
“Yes,” she replied with the same dreaminess playing in the tone of her voice. “Is it something wrong?”
“No…I mean…” he hesitated. “Are you sure?”
“Sure about what, darling?”
“About this…I mean, there’s no rush, really. You don’t have to…” he replied, quite abashed by his blabbing and lack of proper words that could have diminished the awkwardness of the moment. She noticed his embarrassment and determinedly placed her index finger on his mouth as though pledging him to cease talking.
“Shhh… I am here, aren’t I? It must be because I want to…” she spoke confidently.
He smiled and as she replied with the same gesture, he leaned over kissing her neck and steadily pulling the dress off her. She shivered between his arms and Rolf could not tell at that point if it was on account of the chilly breeze coming through the open window or because she was scared. She could hardly tell that herself.
“It’s going to be alright,” he said, trying to assure himself rather than her.
AN Thank you all for voting this story for the Dobbys! Without your kindest support I would have never enjoyed the honour and joy of having a winner story in the awards. A special and humble thanks goes out to Jacqueline_Noir(my dearest), my May or rozenmaiden, to shadowycorner and silver_and_gold, to bron(who's always reviewing something I've written), to Craig and jkrowlingfan and to so many other people who've been following this story since it's very beginning. This chapter is dedicated to you! Thank you! Roe
Chapter 14: Of Uncomfortable Questions and Adequate Answers
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It was still dark when Luna awoke from her dreams, only to notice happily that she had never left Rolf’s room. There he was on the bed, on her left, with his eyes closed and his chest heaving cadent with every breath. He was sound asleep, most probably succumbed in a dizzying state of reverie, deepened in the deadliest of silences. She could feel his hands brushing against her skin, as he moved closer to where the warmth of her body effused on the sheets.
Luna turned around and looked straight at him, her fingers caressing the dark strands that fell carelessly on his forehead, and her breath mixing with his somewhere in the joint space between their faces. She stared at him, bemused by his flawlessly, by his masculinity and above all things by the genuine innocence mirrored in the content curling that his lips had gained ever since he had closed his eyes.
She thought back on what had happened that night, yet as expected she could hardly believe that any of that had occurred to her, out of all people. There were not enough positive words in the English vocabulary to express her elation and deep sense of happiness that seemed to be overwhelming her heart with every beat. He had been tender and very much attentive towards her; he had helped her ease the embarrassment with his caring voice and the soft whispers that encouraged her that everything would be alright.
Luna could vaguely remember the sharp pain she had felt – the one he had numbed away with a tender kiss and an agreeable touch on her back. As vivid as it had seemed then, now she could just recall the barely audible squeal, which she had allowed to leave her throat, unconsciously. All that was left in her now was the deep rooted feeling that she had done the right thing, that despite never having surrendered to a man such selflessly, she had committed perhaps the best choice of her life.
She was still Luna Lovegood, but somewhat different than she remembered. She was happy and comprehended, which made her perceive the world in a whole new, better light.
She clutched the sheets tighter, making sure that they covered the nudity of her body and as she moved closer to him, hoping to fall asleep listening to his heart beat again, Rolf opened his eyes and smiled. There was something odd emanating from his dark eyes, which Luna found very much pleasing and intriguing in a way only Rolf could be.
He looked into her blue eyes, slightly taken aback by their sincerity. He could see bliss wavering in them; at some point even shame, idly poised by the determination not to break eye contact. He took his right hand from beneath the blanket and tucked a rebellious blond lock behind her ear, where he had seen her wand resting too many times. They stood in silence, not knowing what would make a pertinent sentence that would enable both to let behind the awkwardness.
“What’s the time?” he finally spoke tenderly, after several moments of hesitation.
“I think it’s around two in the morning, but I’m not that sure,” she replied, still maintaining eye contact.
“I don’t remember ever falling asleep,” he added confused. “Did you…?”
“I think I dozed off too…but I reckon it was after you,” she explained. “I recall you closing your eyes and snoring…”
“I don’t snore!” Rolf said frowning.
“I know, I was just joking,” she mumbled grinning. “Would you like something to eat? We still haven’t eaten after all…”
“Of course…My stomach is growling. But please, stay here, I’ll fetch it,” he pledged while turning around and then lifting from the bed, standing naked on the edge of the bed. Luna looked away and she blushed as she caught herself stealing glances of his back and well shaped shoulders.
“Now, can you remember where I’ve put my jeans?”
“Oh, I think they are here,” she said slightly leaning forward to get hold of his trousers. “Here you have them…”
He turned around, grabbed them and as their gazes met he brushed a kiss on her lips, making her blush even more vividly than before. Rolf lifted from the bed, pulling the trousers on and afterwards, heading straight to the desk where he remembered having seen food for the last time. She watched him curiously, strolling around the room, waist-up naked, giving off such poise and masculinity that Luna’s heart seemed to melt with every of his over-confident steps.
“Come on up here and help me with the pudding!” Rolf spoke all of a sudden and she soon found herself smiling for no apparent reason.
“Oh, I think I’ll be in need of clothes,” Luna replied, while looking for her dress on the floor.
“Stay still… I’ll summon your pyjamas from your room. Accio Luna’s pyjamas,” he whispered and as the blue night gown flew into his hands, he threw it on the bed.
He leaned on the desk, his arms crossed while his eyes fixed a rather abashed Luna, trying to get hold of her night gown without exposing additional skin.
“Err…” she murmured not knowing how to evade his stare.
“Yes Luna? Is something wrong?” he asked, flummoxed by her behaviour. She gestured him to turn around and he let out a sigh, upon performing the action she had required.
“Just so you know, I’ve seen all there was to see…” he said smirking, thinking that she was now most probably flushing fervently. “And there is absolutely no need to feel embarrassed when you’re with me…”
“Why is that?” she asked, making Rolf burst out laughing at the hearing of such a direct question.
“Can I turn around now?”
“Only if you care to explain what you’ve just said…” she responded as she tied her hair in a bun using her wand.
“Well…” Rolf began speaking as she approached him slowly. “People who have certain feelings for each other don’t have to feel abashed by this stuff, because they share everything… You’ll see that in time it will come natural,” he explained. She seemed to sip him with her stare.
“That’s what normal people do? They walk around naked in front of each other…?” Luna muttered quite intrigued, her eyes contemplating every of movements.
“Not all the time,” he replied giggling, while giving her a gulf of pudding. “But sometimes they do…it’s like the recognition of their bond. It’s their secret…”
“Oh,” she sighed. “Sounds like a complicity.”
“It is,” he replied. “How’s the pudding? Does it match the one from Hogwarts?”
“It’s marvellous…quite resembling that one. And do people do that often?”
“What…? The walking around or…err…the other thing?” Rolf asked, this time feeling his cheeks gaining warmth.
“Both,” she replied while gazing at him curiously and taking a sip from her glass of wine.
“They’re connected in a way, I guess,” he spoke rather clumsily, thinking that Luna indeed had a way with asking impossible-to-answer type of questions. “I mean it’s all a matter of taste…or mood, I daresay. One does this when he or she feels like…”
“How do you know that you want to?” Luna queried while dipping her spoon into the pudding.
“Err…it depends,” he spoke quite uncertain.
“What made you want to do it tonight?” he rejoined with a question, hoping that he would be able to find a better response meanwhile.
“It was kind of odd, now that I think about it…It was like being attacked by a pack of Wrakspurts, I guess, but cumulated with a sudden enhancement of perceiving the extraordinary – the kind that Gnome saliva develops,” she explained while beaming at him.
Rolf sniggered. He would have never put Gnome saliva, pack of Wrackspurts and lust in the same sentence but now that Luna had mentioned it, it seemed like the right way to explain the phenomenon. Yet again, he was astounded by her capacity to preserve her convictions and openly state them, even if for some people they were very much absurd.
She had her own manner of explaining life – sometimes by means of fantastic creatures with implausible names – which enchained Rolf and made him want to acquire such credo. She was unique in her own sort of way, that many would have labelled as odd, but Rolf, who knew more to Luna, thought that she was merely being open-minded and genuine.
“Tell me something, Luna,” he spoke hesitantly. “It was your first time, wasn’t it?”
“Yes,” she responded honestly and without any vacillation wavering in her voice. “I had never been with a man before; does it matter in general?”
“Again, it varies…it depends of the person in cause. Some take pride in it, some don’t bother at all and others care too much about it. I, personally, like to think that I’ve got a balanced opinion…”
“Meaning that I neither mind, nor ignore it totally… I value you because of it,” Rolf added heartedly. “It’s something that men like to boast about, but…err… not me! Can you please pass me the salmon grille?”
“Of course,” she said while handing him the required plate. “Why do you avoid my questions, Rolf?”
He stared at her, quite taken aback by her daring to ask such a direct question but nevertheless, despite his initial amazement, he decided to reply honestly. Luna could tell, surprisingly, when he was being truthful and when he was lying. It was perhaps one of the many gifts that she possessed and by far the one that could lead him into bashful situations.
“It’s not that I don’t want to respond them, but they are quite… how do I say this?” he inquired, touching his chin in a very pensive-like manner that made Luna smile. “The truth is that I’ve never given much thought to these things and neither do people in general…people are ashamed of asking this type of questions.”
“But you said that I shouldn’t be timid around you…and that people are not afraid to be themselves with their partner,” she replied. He laughed.
“Merlin, you’re so clever,” he added dumbfounded. “Of course I said that…and surely, it’s true. Well, I think an accurate explanation would be the fact that humans are complex and enjoy contradictions…”
“It’s slightly confusing, you know… Normal people are bold enough as to walk around naked but they don’t dare speak their mind…” Luna spoke and Rolf nodded.
“Luna, why don’t you include yourself amongst the people? I mean, you always seem to be calling people, normal… You’re normal too,” he queried.
“Because with me, it is exactly the opposite. I’m not afraid to tell what I think and that scares those around me. I’ve always been called different…”
“I’m not scared,” he said, making Luna smile. “I never was…As for you, being different, I’ll have to agree. But it’s in a good way, certainly. I know what you mean by having people calling you different…it’s because of the nicknames that children would give you in school, right?”
“Partly,” she admitted while playing with the fork. “Though I daresay that they were far from being the only ones who thought of me as being crazy…”
“But you’re not crazy, Luna!” Rolf spoke staunchly. “You just understand more…”
Luna gaped as she realized that no one had ever said something equally beautiful about her. People had often bespattered her and her father for displaying their convictions a bit too openly for common taste. At the beginning she would feel afflicted by their malevolence. But as time had gone by, she had learnt that people offended them merely because they were afraid to open their minds, their eyes and their hearts towards the truth.
Her mother had taught her that and, stoically, she had implemented this belief in her philosophy of life. Now that she had grown up and had seen the world confronted with the worst scenario, she realized that her mother had been right all along.
It was fear the one that pushed people into denying what’s beyond the obvious – the fear that Rolf did not feel. He had his own sort of bravery boiling in his veins, unlike the one that Harry, Hermione, Ron or Ginny had displayed in the many battles, the type of bravery that enabled him to perceive the world in a different manner. He had influence over people, but enjoyed being poisoned with others’ opinions as well. Again, Rolf Scamander proved to be the same man of contrasts, like Luna had thought him to be that day by the fountain.
“That’s really nice of you to say,” she spoke.
“I’m not being nice, rather truthful,” he replied and then handed her a flap-jack. “Taste this. It’s delicious!”
She thanked him and then took a bite from it, letting her taste buds indulge with the genuine sweetness. He watched her eating the goods and thought that maybe she was different from the rest of the world, as he had never met anyone quite like her. She knew so little about the customs and the habits around her, yet she had unravelled so many mysteries along her life. She knew nothing, but as contradictory as it sounded, also everything. He would teach her all she had neglected so far and in turn, she would do the same regarding the knowledge he had yet to acquire.
“You’re not that anxious to ask me questions anymore, are you?” he suddenly spoke, breaking the silence.
“Oh…I thought that maybe we could act like normal people for a while…” she replied, still biting from her flap-jack.
“Where’s the fun in that? If normal equals ignorance, then why should we even want to be normal?” he joked. “Ask away, darling!”
“This is fun!” she said clapping her hands excitedly. “Because I was actually wondering if…”
“Before you start…let’s get back to the bed, it would be more comfortable, wouldn’t it?” he cut her off and at the hearing of his suggestion she nodded, approvingly.
They lifted from their chairs and together headed towards the bed, where the ruffled sheets waited for them to tuck their bodies beneath their warmth. She grabbed his hand and leaned her head on his shoulder. He kissed her forehead and then stuffed his other hand into his pocket, along with his wand.
“And if we go back to the bed,” she suddenly whispered. “Will we do that again?”
Rolf laughed, “Only if we feel like…as I’ve said before it’s all about the mood. Do you feel your brain going fuzzy?”
“No,” she replied after a brief moment of cogitation. “Not now, at least…maybe later.”
“Good… we shall see then, shan’t we?”
The room was bathed in the pale light of an early morning, the shy rays of the sun protruding through the white curtains that framed Rolf’s room. The plates, where food had been served the night before, were still resting on the desk only that now they were empty except from the salmon grille that lay half eaten on a sparkling white dish.
Emerging from beneath the white sheets, there were two pairs of feet: one belonging to a man as they were quite large and bony and the other one, definitely, of a young girl, who fancied turquoise nail polish. The right foot of the young man was rubbing against the girls’ and as their fleshes met, one could easily make out a hushed moan escaping her throat.
His half-closed eyes barely distinguished her pale face and dirty blonde hair amongst the whiteness of the sheets, but as soon as she revealed her rosy lips from beneath the blanket, he managed to spot the differences. He did not dare to open his eyes wide and upon being struck by the light – that with every passing second seemed to become more intense – he sealed them again and abandoned himself to the cosiness of his fluffy pillow, while his left arm rested on her back.
There was a loud thud resembling very much to the banging of an opened door and as soon as both Rolf and Luna flinched by the grating sound, an army of people entered the room. They jumped, taken aback by the rude manner of being woken up, and as soon as they could open their eyes and take awareness of their surroundings, both noticed about ten people standing before them, wearing birthday hats and flaunting coloured pennons in their hands. All of them were suddenly struck by a scarlet shade moulding on their cheeks.
Luna nuzzled and as she glanced back at the gaping group of people, she noticed a birthday cake on a silver platter, on which she could make out the words “Happy Birthday Rolf!” scribbled with cream.
“Happy birthday, darling,” she spoke dreamily while gazing at him and tightening the grip on the sheet that covered her nakedness.
“Thank you,” Rolf muttered dumbfounded and then as his eyes met hers, he smiled. He then turned his gaze at the ten people whom he now recognized. “Luna, this is my family…”
AN Hi guys! Sorry for keeping you waiting for so long but I have recently relocated to London for my uni and it has been a wild ride so far... amazing, fun but wild nonetheless! I've barely had time for myself but rest assured that my frequent updates are bound to return:) On another train of thoughts, I am still quite sad because of the reviews stuff but I certainly don't expect any of you to go back and re-review the last four chapters so rest assured that I don't mind it. Love you all! and please, drop by to talk this chapter over:X
Chapter 15: Meet the Parents, Part I
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The noisy gathering of people, that Luna now knew to be Rolf’s family, left the room quietly, occasionally bumping with different pieces of furniture on their way. Rolf smiled at Luna, who could hardly make up a coherent sentence in her head to summarize her brief encounter with his relatives. They stared at each other for a while without making any sound and then, as they both heard Porpentina scolding her sons, they burst into fits of laughter that neither managed to cease until a couple of minutes had passed.
He then tucked her in a tight embrace, remembering everything that had happened the night before: the kisses, the way she had allowed him to touch her, her childish yet most charming questions and her bewildered face expression as he had told her about everything she needed to know. He cupped her face, losing himself again into the blue depth of her iris, while her hands grabbed his in a tender squeeze.
Her hair fell on her shoulders, slightly dishevelled and wild, but nevertheless quite chicly in its apparent inordinacy. He smiled and she mimicked the gesture, but it seemed to Rolf that the manner in which her lips curled was far more sincere than his. He knew then that he was changed, perhaps in a way that he would have never thought he could be altered by a woman.
Yet Luna, with her wittiness and dreaminess and vivacity had managed to awoken the inner child that had been hidden behind an adult mask for too long. He found her extremely beautiful that morning as they sat in his bed, flanked by messy sheets and ruffled pillows, wearing nothing but their hearts on their sleeves. He fingered her back, while she rested her head on his shoulder, carefully sniffing his skin hoping to preserve the memory of it forever.
He smelled like a man should, spicy tones mixing in the scent that remembered Luna of the Asian fruits she had sniffed that day at the market with him. His hands – the ones now run freely on her back – brought along with their master touch, a deep feeling of hope and happiness to her heart. She had never felt the way she now felt.
The saccade sound of his heart pulsating in his chest resounded like a melody. She could sense the forceful pounding as she laid her hand on his chest and its mere pace brought so much confidence to Luna. This heart, the one that she was listening to, was beating for her and at that point she realized that no heart had ever lived for her, before.
There was something romantic about him being the first in so many fields; he was the first one in kissing her, the first who had made her smile with such heartedness, the sole whose heart beat for her, the one who had initiated her the night before in so much more than just the bed issue and perhaps the only one who could claim that he had taken over her mind. She felt happy, so happy that she could hardly control herself from not shouting out loud her feelings.
And then as his eyes sparkled in the pale light of the morning she thought that she loved him.
Luna knew nothing of romantic love, of its joys and thrills, of its anguish and despairs, but in her ignorance towards such matters, she could tell that her feelings for Rolf involved much more than just friendship or even the infatuation she had so often heard people talking about. There was something more than that – it was passion burning her heart to cinders, it was admiration that overwhelmed her mind, it was adventure that his clutch promised every minute and perhaps it was an exaggerated affection that made her lose reason whenever he was around.
She felt dizzy by his fervent stare and slightly inebriated by his manly cologne. She looked around, sniffed the air, watched for any kind of movements and then sighed defeated. There were no Wrackspurts around to mess with her head. This was just her and the reactions that he would cause whenever he would look at her like that.
“Good morning,” he finally spoke breaking the awkward inlay of chaotic sentences forming in her mind with such speed that not even she could keep track. “Sorry about my family…I think they just wanted to surprise me…”
“I guess they were the ones who got surprised in the end,” she replied smiling. “You didn’t mention that today was your birthday.”
“As odd as it may sound I had forgotten all about it…My mind was occupied with other thoughts, thoughts of you.”
She blushed. “If I had known it was your birthday I would have baked you a cake and got you something…” explained Luna, while caressing his right cheek.
“You are my gift,” Rolf whispered, quite taken aback by his own daring.
He had never told anyone such a thing and as those words left his mouth, he realized that while he was the first for her in so many things, so was she for him. Between them was so much novelty that every passing minute was an adventure. He wondered now what more could he discover in her, but most importantly in himself. What secrets did her heart cover and perhaps what else could his reveal at her side? She was new, but then so was he when Luna was around.
He could be everything he had ever dreaded being: a naturalist, a man with so many possibilities ahead… a descendant of a great family who was not afraid of stepping into the shoes of his forefathers.
“Shall we go and properly greet my family?” he spoke again and she nodded happily. “I reckon that cake is delicious if it was made by my mother…”
“Let me just go to my room, get dressed and we’ll go downstairs…” she explained as she lifted from the bed allowing the sheets to slide from her naked body. He gazed at her for a while feeling unable to say a single word that could explain his amaze.
“What?” she queried as she headed towards the desk, looking for her wand.
“Err…you…” he mumbled.
“Oh, I decided to listen to your pledges,” she replied and as she picked her wand she headed towards the door.
“Luna, darling…” he spoke. “You might want to put some clothes on if you intend to go out on the hallway. I have an underage cousin…”
“Oh…” she whispered while covering her mouth with her fingers and summoning her clothes.
“Sorry, I forgot that we aren’t alone in the house.”
He giggled. “Meet me in ten, alright? I’ll come and pick you up from your room…”
She nodded and after pulling the night gown over her head, she emerged on the hallway, where she spotted a jolly ten year-old strutting along.
Almost half an hour later they descended the stairs leading them to the ground floor, where they both knew who was waiting. One could easily hear a couple of girls giggling in the dinning room, accompanied by the occasional voices of some older men and a grating child’s laughter who must have belonged to the little boy that Luna had seen strutting on the first floor hallway. Rolf guided her trough the long corridor and as they reached the dinning room door, he stopped and took her both hands in his.
“Ok, so here we are,” he mumbled, not knowing what had made him want to say something in the first place. “Err… well, there’s no need to worry. It’s just fine… you see my family is a bit odd but other than that, I think you’ll like them.”
“I like oddness,” she spoke while smiling. “I’m odd too, you see…”
“You’re not odd,” he replied staunchly. “So having settled that, let’s go in. After you…”
He opened the door revealing the beaming faces of about fifteen people, most of them women in their youth, plus a blond boy that Luna knew to be Rolf’s underage cousin. Together they marched forward, still holding hands, much to Mrs. Scamander’s pleasure and as they approached the crowd, they saluted them.
“Hi,” Rolf said, clutching fiercer to Luna’s hand.
“Happy birthday honey,” a tall woman spoke while lifting from her chair and rushing to hug him.
“Thanks Mum,” he replied lovingly and as he estranged himself from his mother’s clutch, he grabbed Luna’s hand again this time facing the crowd of relatives. “Everybody, this is my girlfriend, Luna Lovegood. Be nice to her,” he warned them and they all laughed heartedly, warming the stiff atmosphere a bit.
“It’s very nice to meet you,” spoke Rolf’s Mum. “Luna… that’s a beautiful name… I’m Eva Scamander and the handsome man over there is my husband, Alex, and Rolf’s father.” The man grinned and waved at her while stretching his other hand meeting his son’s.
“Now going on with the introductions,” Rolf added while returning to his girlfriend’s side.
“The one talking to Dad is his older brother Joseph, whom we call Joe. His wife is that gorgeous woman over there,” Rolf indicated in a high pitch so as to be heard by his aunt.
“Happy birthday, Rolf!” she shouted from across the room, where she enjoyed a nice conversation with another aunt of Rolf’s. “Hello dear. I’m Aurelia and this is my sister in law, Selena.”
“Oh, it’s wonderful to meet you all!” Luna exclaimed happily.
A tall, beautiful looking girl of about eighteen approached them and, upon hugging Rolf lovingly and wishing him a happy 20th birthday, she extended her hand meeting Luna’s in a firm, yet caring shake.
“I’m Lucy, one of Rolf’s many cousins. As you can see by yourself he’s about the only man around…” the red haired girl spoke quite amicably.
Luna looked around and noticed that indeed Lucy was right. There were seven grandchildren in the Scamander family and amongst them, there were only two boys: Rolf and little Nicholas who hadn’t even reached the proper age for beginning his education as a wizard. One could easily understand now, why Rolf had been so spoiled; he had been the only male to be born in the family, surrounded by a loving mother, two aunts and four older female cousins.
The other members of the family were Arturo Devries, Aunt Selena’s husband and father of Lucy, little Nick and twenty-two year-old Valerie, who sat all by herself in the endmost corner of the room, with a quill and a rolled piece of parchment in her hand. Rolf joked that she was most probably missing her boyfriend, Jack, who, as Lucy pointed, was a Muggle- not a Muggleborn- just a Muggle who had no idea that magic even existed. Apparently, Valerie had lied to him for several years concerning her family and her job and up until that moment he had believed her. Now, the situation seemed to have gained a new twist since he had recently proposed to her.
The truth needed to be told, the future-to-be groom would probably have a heart-attack at the hearing of her words, his family would most certainly be outraged, but other than that the wedding plan seemed to be going on just fine, as Selena, the future mother-in-law, confirmed that same afternoon, in a conversantly manner as though she was merely talking about the latest robe she had purchased from Paris.
By far, the most agreeable of all cousins was Lucy who was not only close in age with Luna, but also had her fair share of oddness and wittiness. She had studied at Beauxbattons, Gustav being her one year superior, but she had completely hated the school and the rigorist manner in which the Headmistress liked to educate her students. Luna merely saw Lucy as the female version of Fred and George, but slightly moderate, though just like the twins she had rebelled quite a few times against the regime.
Joe and Aurelia had fathered children as well, but only daughters. The three Scamander sisters, the only ones bearing the famous last name, were quite expansive and open towards their relatives but were rather shy and introvert whenever a stranger meddled in their family gatherings, as Luna happened to do that morning.
Isabella, Sylvia and Virginia, all three older than any of the other cousins, were crazy for Rolf, as they had basically helped his parents to bring him up. Sylvia, being the oldest one, often bragged that she had been for Rolf like a mother, more or less, which needless to say was a bit exaggerated given that there was merely a five years gap between them.
After the proper introductions had been made and the cake had been eaten, the family retreated to the drawing room to hear Valerie playing the piano. She played a pretty mournful tune that did nothing to entertain the guests, except for Rolf and Lucy who were smirking at each other constantly and joking that the oldest of the sisters was most probably getting ready for the funeral of her fiancé rather than their wedding.
To Luna it appeared that Valerie was someway depressed and at that point she wished she had one of George’s day dreaming patented-potions… that would have certainly lifted her mood and consequently that of the family.
And then as usual, it was time for Nicholas to sing a song or to recite a poem that his mother had taught him. There was a short random of applause to encourage the young man to step up and face his audience, to which he obliged immediately. He chose a poem, but as soon as he began reciting it with a shenanigan smile flaunting on his lips, one could easily notice that surely his mother had not taught him that. It was a rather childish poem that managed to make Luna flush, given the words the boy had used. His mother had been outraged by his vocabulary and its sudden flourishing and consequently had reprimanded him, much to the guests’ amusement.
Luna reckoned that Rolf’s family was very much pleasing and as ‘coloured’ and diverse as it was it still managed to imprint the feeling of closeness towards them. She did not know why but she was slightly envious of everybody, because they all had mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts and grandparents. She had no mother and the only relative, except her father, that she remembered vaguely was her mother’s sister who lived in Tibet, all alone with no husband and no children that Luna could have played with as a child.
The Scamanders were rather fun to be around, simply because they were so different that little disputes and arguments never ceased to arouse between the members and particularly between the girls. There were little, innocent discussions that added a distinct note to the Scamanders, making them genuine in Luna’s eyes. They were everything that a family ought to be like.
“Darling,” Rolf suddenly spoke as she sat in his lap. “Your glass is empty…would you like me to fetch you some more pumpkin juice?”
“Oh, yes, thank you,” Luna said after glancing down at her empty glass. She had been so absorbed by the contemplation of his family that she hadn’t even noticed that she was thirsty. “I would love some more.”
He lifted from his chair, thus forcing her to do the same gesture and as he proceeded to the door he cast her, a loving glance, to which she blushed faintly. He entered the kitchen, which this time was empty – as all the house elves were busy serving the guests in the drawing room – and as he leaned over to pick the pumpkin juice jar, he heard someone entering. He glanced up, only to notice his father standing in the doorway with the same flirty smile dancing on his lips just like Rolf’s. He was as much as his father as he was like his mother.
“Hey Dad,” he greeted the man. “Are you enjoying the party?”
“Quite a lot, I daresay. Nick’s bit of poetry was brilliant, though my sister did not seem to enjoy herself.” Rolf laughed while pouring some of the orange liquid into the glass. “Grandpa has told me that you went on a field trip with him…”
“Yes, I did,” Rolf admitted bitterly, suddenly realizing to what his father was hinting.
“It’s been a while since you last went on one of these,” his father remarked as he approached his son, eager to pour some juice for himself. “It made me wonder, Rolf… how come you don’t stop by the house anymore?”
“Tuscany does not suit me,” he replied dismally. “The weather is too hot for my taste. I like Dorset better.” His father sighed defeated but nevertheless, he went on speaking as though he had not perceived the tone of his son’s voice.
“I thought you didn’t want to become a naturalist,” Alexander spoke again and this time it was Rolf’s turn to sigh.
“And I still don’t,” his son replied somewhat irritated, but obviously aware that he was lying through his teeth. “I did not go there because I wanted to deepen again into researches… I didn’t even go for grandpa.”
“You went there for Luna, didn’t you?”
“Perhaps I did, I’m not sure yet…” Rolf added in a very matter of fact sort of way. “But I don’t understand why that would surprise you, anyway. I’m hardly the first man to pursue a woman.”
“This girl, Luna…” his father said, rather concerned, while taking a seat at the table.
“What about her? Is she not to your liking, Father?” Rolf mocked but Mr. Scamander did not laugh.
“Oh, I like her,” he replied pensively. “But she’s hardly the girl to your liking, Son. She’s beautiful; one would have to be blind not to see it, but I do not see her as your type of girl. I’ve met the women whom you’ve occasionally fancied and I can honestly say that I don’t recognize anything of them in Luna.”
“Hardly the point, Father… hardly the point,” he echoed. “Maybe I have changed my tastes. Maybe I have decided that it was time I started dating some other type of women.”
“Maybe you have… but I know you Rolf. You’re my son and this girl… you’re going to break her heart. Perhaps not today, not tomorrow, but one day you will.”
Rolf glared at his father, not believing his ears. “You don’t know that…”
“Oh believe me… I’ve gained enough experience as to realize what’s going on between you and this girl…”
“Her name is Luna,” Rolf retorted angrily.
“Well, Luna,” he agreed.
“Why are you telling me these things? I don’t see the point…You hardly know her and even if I were to break her heart, it would do you no wrong…”
“You see Rolf? That’s where you are mistaken… It would do me all the wrong because I’m tired of cleaning after you…I know her father. God knows what he’ll print in that paper of theirs…”
“So this is not about Luna or how she would be heart broken…? This is about your honour and your integrity being in line!” Rolf spoke in a high pitch voice. “This is about the Scamanders maintaining appearances, isn’t it?”
“Now, Son… I wouldn’t put it that way. I was merely trying to point some of the aspects of your relationship.”
“Aspects…?” Rolf echoed quite displeased. “Those are not the aspects of our relationship, certainly not! Aspects are the way she makes me feel, the things she teaches me and those that I try to teach her… aspects are the facts that she understands and what she makes me see.”
“That’s all good and romantic…I agree,” his father said. “But let’s keep it realistic… How many women have you loved so far, Rolf?”
“None,” he admitted. “But that’s not the point, Father… I didn’t share anything with the other women…”
“I’ve had the opportunity to talk to her. She’s quite unique; she’s asked if I had ever seen a Crumpled-Horned Snorkak,” he replied humorously. “As far as our conversation allowed me to perceive her, I think she’s sincere and a bit naïve at one point. She likes to dream as much as she loves being a naturalist… Now, after listening to my first impression which I believe to be accurate, tell me how much do you share?”
Rolf stared blankly at him. He couldn’t believe that his father could be so intransigent about such a thing. Since when did he bother about the women that his son was dating and particularly since when did he take the liberty to express his views upon Rolf’s life? Preposterous, Rolf thought to himself as his father stared back at him with a bolt of thriving glistening in his eyes, as though confirming that he was right.
“You know nothing of me,” Rolf shouted picking up the glass and marching towards the door furiously. He turned around, his hands shaking angrily and his glare cutting his father. “And you most certainly know nothing of Luna!”
He banged the door, causing Mauler – the kneazle – to shrink into a dark corner, thus disappearing from sight. Rolf headed determinedly towards the drawing room, forcefully clutching the glass. His mind was pestered with thoughts…his father’s words resounded in his ears like the broken tune of an old piano.
“You’re going to break her heart” the voice inside his head kept repeating much to his distress. He would not break her heart; he would prove to his father and to his whole family that he would do the right thing, this time. Luna was different than all the other girls and he felt different too, when she was around. He would not allow his father to interfere between him and Luna.
With these very thoughts in mind he opened the door to the drawing room and as he entered, he noticed Luna talking to Lucy, Isabella and Virginia in a corner.
“Of course, when you read the Runes upside-down they reveal a totally different meaning,” Luna explained to the girls, at which they nodded hesitantly. “It’s actually a spell to turn someone’s ears into kumquats!” she went on excitedly.
“What are kumquats?” Isabella asked rather confused, while Rolf joined the little gathering.
“Oh, they are the most interesting things…” Luna replied, as Rolf passed her the pumpkin juice glass.
“Darling, why don’t you tell them about Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks? I find them more indulging as a subject…” Rolf pledged, and Lucy cocked her left eyebrow in disbelief.
“You think?” Luna asked and he nodded.
“Excuse me, Crumple-what?” Valerie bugged in after hearing bits of their conversation.
“Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks, Val,” Rolf spoke excitedly upon noticing his father entering and taking a seat between his wife and his brother-in-law, Arturo. “Luna and I are going to find one these days…”
“Are we, dear?” Luna inquired, beaming at him with her big blue eyes.
“Of course we are…Now, please, tell them all there is to know about them. Perhaps they spot one in Tuscany…”
“I’d rather doubt that,” Luna replied, not paying attention to the mutters of the girls. “They’re native to the Scandinavian countries…”
“Nevertheless…” Rolf assured her. “We oughtn’t to leave a rock unturned.”
Luna smiled and then went on to explain them the differences between a Crumpled-Horned Snorkack and the Ungubular Slashkilter, under the careful eye of the adults. Luna felt happy that Rolf had agreed to help her in her quest but what truly made her feel all serene and buoyant was his attitude, the lovingness he showed towards her despite being in the company of his family and perhaps, the change that she knew she had caused in him. She knew then that she had irremediably and madly fallen in love with Rolf Scamander.
And from that moment on there was no turning back…
AN Hey! I told you the fast updates were coming back:D Anyway, I hope you like this chapter as it contains a bit of the Scamanders. I'm looking forward to the next chapter however, as it has the wedding and the introduction of Rolf to Xeno Lovegood. That should be interesting, right? Well, in case you have the time I've posted a new story(well, re-posted an older story but following different timelines). It's called Anatomy of a Heart so feel free to give it a look if you're into Daphne Greengrass/Theo Nott or you simply like Slytherins:). Roe!!!
Chapter 16: Meet the Parents, Part II
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Rolf and Luna reached Ottery St. Catchpole that morning through a portkey that Mr. Scamander had set for them in order to get as fast as possible to the Burrow. They were to spend the last day of August there and the next day, there was to be the long awaited wedding. Rolf glanced around as he landed on the ground, still clutching fiercely to the handler of their trunk. There were hills stretching all over the horizon line, a pale sun burning somewhere between the curvy peaks and the green trees were bouncing from left to right in the calm breeze of a late summer morning. Luna grabbed his hand and he squeezed it once, as though trying to assure her that everything would go alright, only that today he was the one that needed most of it.
She could feel that he was tense about meeting her father and her friends, but at the same time she knew that they would like him. She loved him and so there was no reason for them not to feel the same.
“Come on,” Luna said, thus breaking the silence that was every once in a while numbed by the jolly songs of birds. “I’m sure Daddy awaits us with some Fresh Water Plimpies soup and some Gurdyroots tea. Hmm, even the name makes me drool!”
“Plimpies? You make soup with Plimpies?”
“Yes…it’s delicious. Everybody wants to know the recipe, but of course Daddy and I never give it away. It’s our secret…”
Rolf giggled soundly making Luna smile and the together they ventured out of the main road, where the Portkey had left them, and headed straight to the top of a hill, where Luna had pointed that it was her home. They marched towards the top for several minutes until they reached the oddest house Rolf had ever seen. It was big, looked like a giant black cylinder and the rocky surface did not seem to add the elegance that it usually imposed on other houses with the same exterior. The wrought-iron gate creaked faintly as Luna opened it with a firm grip and as they stepped inside they were greeted by a pleasurable smell coming from one of the many trees that the Lovegoods had planted in their back garden.
Now Rolf understood why Luna’s perfume was so much intriguing for him. It was an odd combination though, something that made him think of Asia and the Chinese garden he had visited with his grandfather while young. At the same time it reminded him of a special night, when Luna had been his for the first time. It reminded him of the scent of her skin as it shivered beneath his fingers, the sensation of her hair caressing his back as she had placed her head on his shoulder.
They moved forward on the dirty path leading straight to the front door, which was adorned with a funny handler emblazoning some sort of creature that Rolf had never seen before. He reckoned that it must be the Crumpled-Horned Snorkack or some other beast that they had yet to discover or possibly never would. She pulled a long rope that ended with a fluffy fur ball – Rolf hoped it not to be a dead Puffskein – and as the door swung open, they were both invited inside by a scrawny house elf that was so old that it made him wonder how it still managed to walk.
“Miss Luna,” Goran bowled while erasing his big tears with a rag that he had possibly been used for cleaning the dust. “Goran has missed you so much…Goran did not know what to do without the little Lady.”
”I missed you too,” whispered Luna while hugging the elf in such a tender manner that Rolf found it slightly unsettling since he had never even spoken fondly with his house elves.
“Has Miss Luna come back to stay for good?” the elf asked and she smiled.
“No, I’m afraid I haven’t… I’m just going to stay for the weekend. I presume Daddy has told you about Ginny’s wedding.”
“Oh, indeed Master told Goran all about it…But please do come in! Master is in the living room, printing the newspaper.”
“Thank you Goran…” she said while dragging Rolf to the nearest door. “Oh, this is Rolf Scamander; he’ll be our guest for a while.”
The elf bowed and then retreated to a dark corridor, most probably heading to the kitchen as Rolf expected him to. Luna gestured him to leave the trunk in the hallway as Goran would come to pick it up later and as she opened the door, they were both greeted by a tall man with white hair, the texture of candy-floss, and crooked eyes. His appearance was nevertheless, pleasant once you managed to look past the cross-eyes. He smiled as he saw his daughter in the hallway clutching Rolf’s hand and looking better than he would have ever thought she would.
“Daddy!” Luna cried out, while throwing herself between his arms. “I’ve missed you so much…”
“My love!” he exclaimed in the same high pitched voice. “You’re looking wonderful…I can see that the sunny shores of Dorset are auspicious for you.”
“Indeed they are,” she spoke and then as she remembered that Rolf was still standing in the doorway, she gaped and grabbed his hand. “Daddy, this is Rolf.”
“Xenophilius Lovegood,” the man introduced himself while examining the young man from head to toe.
“Rolf Scamander,” he chanted, quite abashed by the man’s stare for he could not make out whether he was looking at his shirt or his face.
“Oh, judging by your last name, you must be Newt’s son!”
“Grandson actually, Daddy,” Luna explained and then gestured to Rolf to sit on one of the sofas.
He did as she had told him and as he looked around he noticed a big, heavy and quite noisy printing machine in the corner of the room that most probably was doing the next issue of The Quibbler, perhaps the oddest newspaper Rolf had ever read. Luna had shown him once an edition of her father’s periodical and merely glancing at the headline he had had the urge to laugh, but given her seriousness he had refrained himself from making such a gesture. His gaze shifted to a broken tiara that seemed to have bled at some point, as it was stained by big red greasy looking blemishes. Xenophilius Lovegood had hung various objects on it and at a closer look he noticed a radish-like earring, quite resembling to Luna’s favourite pieces of jewellery.
“Oh,” Xenophilius sighed and Rolf turned around to see what was going on. He noticed both Luna and her father looking at him, his girlfriend eyeing him lovingly while Mr. Lovegood seemed to have abruptly gained an interest in him. “I see you are contemplating the diadem…”
“The... what…?” Rolf asked quite taken aback.
“The diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw,” Luna explained, grabbing the diadem and putting it on her head. “Harry gave it to us when the war ended. We had been trying to re-build it for years. We’re attempting to enhance its powers but since they used Fiendfyre on it to destroy the Horcrux, it no longer works properly. But Daddy will get to the bottom of it, won’t you?”
“Of course dear,” he replied.
Rolf stared at them bemused.
“Care for a cup of Gurdyroots tea? Your favourite, Luna…” Xenophilius said and Luna glanced at Rolf.
“Would you like some tea, darling?” she asked and he nodded, out of mere politeness of course. He was hardly in the mood for tea but denying such an offer of hospitality was simply below his range.
Mr. Lovegood went outside on the hallway, leaving Rolf and Luna all by themselves. He leaned over and kissed her tenderly, while she opened wide her eyes out of sheer amazement. She was happy, though at that point she could hardly understand why. She had talked to her father about Rolf in one of the many letters they had sent to each other in past months and surely her father had approved of him immediately. On a first look it seemed that they got along well and that could only brighten Luna up. There they were – the two most important men in her life – talking and feeling quite good in the presence of the other. There were hardly any reasons to be upset and with Ginny’s wedding the following day, things couldn’t be better.
“Do you like it in here?” she suddenly asked him, while he cupped her face lovingly.
“It’s wonderful…” he replied, thinking about the outside of the house rather than the interior. “Ottery St. Catchpole is a wonderful place…I love it!”
“And the house…?”
“Oh, the house…yes, it’s nothing like I’ve seen before…unique, just like you,” he mumbled not knowing what else to say. “Your father seems like a really nice man…”
He lifted from his chair, moving aside from Luna and heading straight to the corner where the obnoxious sounds of the printing machine came from. He leaned over to see the first issue emerging from the printer. Luna started humming a song that she often sang whenever they were alone, and Rolf smiled contently at the hearing of her crystalline voice cutting the noise produced by the machine. The cover of The Quibbler emerged and Rolf gently picked it up to read the headlines, “Knarls and Horklumps in a quest to attack the Ministry of Magic- Page 6” and “Another sighting of the Crumpled-Horned Snorkack”, which were written in bold with rainbow coloured characters that made reading a bit difficult for the eye.
“Do you like the new format?” Luna queried as she ceased humming. “It was my idea to change the colours…”
“It adds a nice touch to the classical reading,” he mumbled and Luna agreed by nodding.
The door swung open and Xenophilius Lovegood entered pushing forward a chariot-tray with three cups painted rather lefty with the brightest colours Rolf had ever seen. The liquid swirling inside the tea cups was brown and resembling quite much to mud, but Rolf did not seem to be bothered by the aspect. The smell was worrying him at that point. Nevertheless, he sat again – this time next to Luna – and picked up his cup, which Xenophilius had placed on the coffee table. He analyzed the odd swirling shapes painted on his cup with gold, green and purple and smiled.
“Luna painted all the dishes and cups when she was little,” Xenophilius explained. “She was quite the artist back then… I have always allowed her to express her artistic genius. You should see the kitchen, that’s her childhood's reference work,” he spoke fondly.
Rolf grabbed Luna’s hand and gazed at her in the same loving manner that her father was now watching them. She smiled at her father and then sipped from her tea, almost immediately exclaiming how wonderful it was and how much she had missed it. Rolf obliged to the same gesture but as soon as he placed his lips on the cup and let them moisten in the brown liquid, he felt the urge to vomit. He poured the liquid again in the cup and as he glanced up he noticed both Luna and her father staring at him, most probably expecting to hear his approval.
“It’s a bit hot,” he excused for his gesture and then placed the cup on the table again, as though letting it chill for a while. He would not drink it again.
The morning sun had risen on the sky, bringing along light into the room where Rolf and Luna had spent the night. She caressed his face as he grudgingly opened his eyes, all throughout complaining that they had slept too little and that they needn’t wake up so early. Luna smiled at the hearing of his complaints and began kissing his cheeks and lips, hoping that it would ease his upset. Indeed, her kisses and her calm whispers stopped his rambling and made him want to sink his head into her chest and never leave that place again.
“Come on Rolf…” she spoke calmly. “Today is the wedding; we don’t want to be late…”
“Oh, right,” he said and then removed the sheets that had been covering them. “What’s the time? I’ll kill you if it’s earlier than 8…”
“It’s 8:05…” she explained and he laughed. “I’ve survived…”
“I don’t understand why we can’t just go there at midday when the actual event takes place… Explain it to me again, darling!” he complained while Luna tucked him between her bare arms that smelled like magnolias.
“Because I’ve promised Ginny and Hermione that I would help them… plus, I’m the bridesmaid. I am supposed to be there earlier than the rest of the guests. And you should come along too, though you can stay here with Dad and leave with him…”
“Oh, I think I’ll join you…” he cut her off while turning around and sinking his feet into a pair of slippers that he had not placed there the night before. Luna always took care of him.
He glanced at the night stand looking for a glass of water and noticed a photograph portraying a woman in her thirties, with long blond hair and resembling Luna quite a lot. She was smiling at the little girl of about five who was sticking her tongue at Rolf. The girl had the trademark long hair and big bulging blue eyes – the same that were now gazing at him.
“Is this your mother?” he asked and she nodded while glancing fugitively at the photo. “You are so much like her…”
“Yeah… Daddy says I remind him of her. She was quite extraordinary, used to do lots of interesting things with her wand that I, as a child, enjoyed very much. She once made bubbles spring out from the tip and had them spelling Luna…” she told him and Rolf listened attentively to her recollection. “She would have liked you…”
Rolf blushed but did not say anything else and instead lifted from the edge of the bed and headed to the bathroom. Here, the walls maintained the same fondness for drawing but these embellishments looked more mature than the ones on the cups. These were clearly the work of an adult, as Rolf reasoned. He saw mermen holding long sceptres in their big hands while being pulled in white carriages made of shells by hippocampuses and mermaids with sea stars instead of hair pins, all wearing pearl necklaces and playing the flute from which blue bubbles emerged.
“Luna!” he spoke in a high pitch voice to draw her attention. “Come on here…”
“Is something wrong?” she asked as she joined him in the bathroom.
“Did you draw all these?”
“Oh,” she gaped. “No, my mother did them when I turned four. This was her gift…” she explained and Rolf smiled, thinking that he would have loved as a child to have his bathroom painted to his liking as a gift, rather than that toy-broomstick.
“It’s very beautiful…your mother was talented,” he admitted as he outlined with the tip of his finger, the nose of one of the mermen.
“Hey!” the drawing shouted. “Keep your hands away from my nose unless you want a piece of this!” he added while pointing the sharp tip of his sceptre at Rolf.
“Oh! I see that she enchanted them as well…” Rolf exclaimed quite taken aback by the merman’s attitude. “That’s quite a nice piece of magic…”
Luna just smiled while glancing at the little blue sea star that she and her mother had once named by her.
The house and the land that was to host Ginny and Harry’s wedding that afternoon appeared genuinely weird to Rolf, as it seemed that the only reason why it was still standing was because of the magic that the owners must have used on it over the years. It had six stories - the latter ones apparently had been added as the time had gone by and as Rolf guessed, as more children had been born. The path leading to the front yard had been neatly dusted up and adorned with Flutterby bushes. There was a big tent erected in the nearby Orchard, but they could only see the tip with the white flag fluttering at the top because of the many trees blocking their view. They hastened their walk and in a matter of seconds, someone had rushed to the door to open to them.
“Luna!” a young-woman with long bushy hair exclaimed while hugging her. “It’s so nice to see you…We’ve missed you!”
“I’ve missed you too,” Luna spoke while untangling from her clutch. “Hermione, this is Rolf…”
“Nice to meet you, Rolf,” Hermione introduced herself. “Hermione Granger…”
“Hello,” another voice emerged from behind the door and as Rolf glanced farther, he noticed a tall young man with red hair and freckles on his nose. It seemed that it was Ron, Hermione’s boyfriend.
“Ron Weasley,” the man said after briefly hugging Luna and inviting them to come in.
“Ginny’s upstairs, getting ready… the whole house seems to have gone bonkers. Thank Merlin, Harry’s not here now…”
Rolf chuckled and then clutched Luna in his arms while entering the kitchen, kissing her forehead under the curious glances of the people inside. He reckoned that they were the many brothers and relatives of Ginny.
“Hermione,” a voice resounded along with the thuds coming from jumping over several steps. “I can’t find the earrings!”
A tall red-head girl with sparkling brown eyes and the trademark freckles on her nose entered the kitchen in a heart beat. She smiled upon seeing Luna and kissed her on both cheeks.
“Ginny,” Luna spoke softly. “This is Rolf Scamander…”
“Ginny Wea… Potter!” she recommended herself. “Merlin, I still can’t get used to that name… Anyway, it’s nice meeting you. Luna has told me all about you…”
“Come on up,” said Hermione. “You too Luna, we’ve got to help Ginny with the dress and then we have to start getting dressed as well…”
“Alright,” she said lovingly. “Rolf, you don’t mind me leaving you here, right?”
“Oh, not at all darling…You go and fulfil your bridesmaid duty and I’ll hang around here with the guys…” he spoke while pointing at the many men sitting crowded in the small kitchen of the Burrow, some of the throwing disapproving glances at him, particularly Ron and some other plump young man, whom Rolf thought to be Neville.
“Ronald,” Hermione spoke with a bossy voice while glancing at her fiancé. “Make sure you help Kreacher with the decorations of the garden…And Rolf, you can help too, if you want to…”
“Oh, of course…” Rolf said while pulling his wand out.
Rolf was seated in the first row, along with Xenophilius, George Weasley and his fiancée Angelina, a nice girl who perhaps had been the only one who had not frowned at hearing that he was dating Luna. All the Weasley brothers had been quite taken aback by the developments going on in Luna’s life and at that point Rolf had the impression that they all hated him. He glanced up at the altar, where a scrawny looking wizard sat, accompanied by Harry – who was the groom – Ron and Neville, his best men. The Boy Who Lived, the only one who had defied Voldemort on so many occasions – looked now more terrified than ever. He was obviously very touched by the event and quite anxious to see Ginny as his wife.
The band started playing a cheerful tune and the bridesmaids stepped on the red rug, followed by Harry’s godson, Teddy, who was carrying the wedding rings on a pillow. He tripped over once, making everyone laugh and then went on to the altar, all this time smiling cheekily at his godfather. But Rolf did not see any of these; he just gazed at Luna who was strolling peacefully between the two rows, as radiant and beautiful as she always was. She smiled at him and then went on sitting by Hermione in the right corner of the stage.
Luna tried to suppress the urge to blush, but every time her gaze would meet Rolf’s she would unmistakably feel her cheeks gaining the hotness and the scarlet complexion that she tried so hard to mask. He looked handsomer than ever, wearing a stylish coat that reached his knees and a white shirt, slightly opened at the neck revealing a bit of his chest. His hair was perfectly groomed and it seemed to shine in the pale light of that 1st of September.
The actual wedding was over, faster than Rolf and Luna perceived and as the rows disappeared, their places were taken by some gorgeous looking sets of round tables covered with white table cloths and chairs with purple slip covers to match Ginny’s bouquet. Rolf and Luna were seated at the main table, along with Hermione and Ron, Neville – who had missed Hogwarts’ start of the year feast to attend the wedding, as he was an apprentice teacher starting that term – and his girlfriend, Hannah who had recently taken over the Leaky Cauldron.
The night had gone by particularly well, except maybe for the little misdeeds that little Teddy Lupin would perform when his grandmother was not around, but which his godfather happily approved of despite Ginny’s stare who insisted that the boy should not be brought up to become like George who as a child had often created havoc. Rolf felt at ease, particularly since the cold stares of her friends seemed to have disappeared along with the many Firewhiskey bottles and the jolly songs of Ginny’s brothers who did not know at that point if they wanted to cry or to smile.
Luna could not even walk properly out of sheer happiness and at a closer look, people would think that it as really her wedding and not Ginny’s, since she was so expansive and talkative as she had never been. Mr. Lovegood merely admitted that his Luna had been bitten by one of the gnomes, and therefore she had been given the many gifts that their saliva can pass on, much to everyone’s amusement.
By the end of the night and the start of the new day, Rolf and Luna left the party, the latter complaining about her feet hurting awfully, but nevertheless both quite happy with how the day had gone by. They were to return to Dorset the following morning, which could only increase their uplifted moods. They both missed it, even if they had barely spent a couple of days at Luna’s.
AN Hello! Sorry for not uploading any new chapters in so long but Uni life is quite time consuming and after this week, I learned that sleep deprivation is a serious matter that affects every single aspect of your life:))) But enough about my complaints, here you have the 16th chapter... a filler, I must admit but I do love them so very much. The next chapter marks a new period in our story, so you ought to be looking forward to that one indeed! Love, RoeXXX
Chapter 17: The Borderline
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Back in Dorset, things were getting smoother than ever… Rolf and Luna spent most of their time together, eagerly discovering new things about each other, some rather important and other very much insignificant, but charming and delighting in their silliness. The atmosphere in the Scamander house was quite refreshing, as all the members were thrilled about the extent that the relationship between Luna and Rolf had reached; everyone besides Gustav. He had yet to understand what she had seen better in Rolf and was now more decided than ever to unveil to her the true side of his childhood rival. However interesting spying on the new lovers seemed, Gustav refrained from any type of de trop commentaries and instead obliged himself to a daily routine that involved working in the mornings and going out in the afternoons.
As tedious and routinely Gustav’s existence unfolded in Dorset, as wild and adventurous proved to be Luna’s. The days she spent with Rolf were very much intriguing and every minute symbolised yet another quest for a mystery. Whether it meant guessing Rolf’s favourite season, or finding out the true reasons behind which the estrangement from the noble art of mazigology stood, everything was purely mystical and she was enthused to wake up every morning knowing that she was embarking on a new journey.
He made her feel in ways she had never felt before. Surely, she had been told plenty of times that she was unique – most of times in the bad sense of the word – but her identity reached a whole new level and a totally new meaning, whenever Rolf was around. He painted her in those bright colours, with flowers in her hair and radish-like earrings flaunting behind the blond strands, with long dresses that fluttered in the wind and wands stuffed in her bun. He painted her life in red – like the radish earring she wore – in green – like the dress she had worn that night that he had first gained an interest in her – in bright blue – like the colour of her mesmerizing eyes – and in yellow – like the sunflower bouquet she had carried at Ginny’s wedding. And his brushes would glide on the blank surface of the canvas with such artistry, thus producing the most mysterious patches of colours that in the end took the shape of the woman he subconsciously loved.
He knew he was different, he knew she had changed him as he sat before the latest painting of her that he had just finished that late morning of November, while Luna was downstairs working. Rolf looked at the refinement of the female curves from the painting, belonging to a young woman with long blond hair that fell on her back to her waist. The wind was playing with her wet hair, her dress was fluttering but she lay absent, completely unaware of her surroundings, on the bank shore of Dorset where he had seen her contemplating the infinite, so many times. On a first look she appeared to watch the sun setting all by herself, completely submerged in her solitude.
But then, one could spot the dark figure of a tall man distinguishing in the distance, as he walked through a field of golden barley. He smiled as he realized that it was really himself who walked over to the shore to meet Luna. His face features could not be traced as to belonging to him, as the man’s figure was blurred, but there was something about the manner in which his hands hid into his jacket pocket and the casualness of his hair fluttering in the violent breeze that truly made even the rudest observer realize that it was Rolf Scamander.
His artistry had developed a lot since Luna had become his muse. His shapes were much regular, his hand slid on the canvas more freely and the quality of his colour blending had reached a higher level. It was new and better… Rolf was new and better, and all of the sudden this whole changing stuff appeared to be such a big deal. He had never looked for change but it seemed now that change had been looking for him for quite a while. He had never wanted to adjust to the society and the rules that accompanied such altering, but what Luna offered was not threatening to his self. She brought along the novelty that made him want to change, in order to make as much use of her freshness as possible. In the end he indulged himself into believing that it was really the uniqueness in her that truly made him seek for her company, never admitting that he too shared feelings for her.
He knew that she had fallen madly for him, of that there were no uncertainties – not that she would ever seek to hide it – but of what people did not meet eye to eye was if indeed, the affection was mutual. Rolf knew, in fact he felt that he liked her more than he had liked those girls he had dated when younger. But he could not stress over the intensity of this liking – whether it extended to more or simply had maintained the same level as before. He was profoundly intrigued by the influence that she held in his life and moreover sought to understand the extent to which his heart had allowed her to fill it.
Despite the many questions swarming around his head, he decided that for the time being he just had to let himself in the hands of destiny and make up an answer as the events would unfold. He would just have fun and mingle the changes with his old self. A balance was most required at that moment and Luna offered him just that, or perhaps even more than that – only time could tell the veracity of his assumptions. He lifted from his chair and headed straight for the desk where a new note had been placed only a couple of minutes before, upon being read. He picked it up again and re-read its content. It was brief note from Zabini.
There has been quite some time since we’ve last seen you, trickster! No signs, no letter, no nothing… I would have thought you’d gone missing had I not seen you in the Prophet at Potter’s wedding. From that article, I realized that you are still dating that girl as odd as it may be of you. But the guys and I are forgiving so we’re expecting you and Lovegood, tonight at a party held at my place. You know, just like in the good old days when I’d come home from Hogwarts and we’d sit ‘till morning talking and drinking the worries away. I presume that you won’t be accompanying me and the guys in any misdeed but being present should do for the lack of action. There’s no need to reply… Damn, just be there Scamander!
Your best mate, (who will severely hex you if you’re not here at 9)
Rolf folded the piece of parchment, sighing, and then threw it again on the desk. He sat on the chair, thinking about what his friend had said. It was true; ever since he had come back home from Zabini’s birthday he had had no real contact with any of his friends and that slightly incommoded him. It felt odd to realize that he had last seen his buddies in August and then he had not dedicated them his attention like they deserved.
Those people had known him since childhood, they had grown up with him in Dorset and understood his fears, his wishes and really enjoyed being with Rolf, not with Scamander – although they called him that. On a second thought, Luna offered that too, but really he could not estrange himself from his friends for the sake of one woman. He had been mistaken; he would not allow so much time to pass without seeing his friends and he would drag Luna along, even though he reckoned that the guys were not so fond of her.
But she was adorable and all that they needed was some time to get accustomed to her and the change that she brought to him. He was a better man all because of Luna and soon enough his friends would see that she truly had transformed him in a good way. And then as they’ll realize all that, they would accept her and make her feel like a part of their group.
Luna entered without knocking, knowing that Rolf allowed her to come in at any given time of the day or night, regardless of the hours. She smiled as she noticed him deepened in thoughts and as he turned around at the hearing of the door creaking, he returned the same loving grin, inviting her to sit on his lap. She did as he had proposed and as she felt his arms curling around her frail waist, she leaned over and fugitively kissed him. He welcomed the rubbing of their lips with much content and as she straightened again, he picked up the note from the desk and handed it to her, gesturing her to read it.
He watched her as she curiously read the content and after she had finished it, he cocked his left eyebrow as though asking for her opinion.
“We’re going, right?” Luna queried, not knowing exactly what to respond.
“Of course,” he replied while running his fingers through her hair. “I miss them sometimes…It would be good to see them. They’re my friends; I grew up with them and they’ve been there for me in times when no one would have. I think Zabini took my absence personal and there’s really no excuse on my behalf. I should have at least owled them…”
“What kept you from it?” she asked as she unfolded the piece of parchment again to give it a second read.
“I don’t know…” he spoke, quite intrigued about the reasons why he had not even written to any of his friends since he used to do that every week. “Zabini surely believes that it’s because of you, but…” he paused. “Who knows? He might be right after all…”
Luna blushed and then scanned the note again, trying to find the part where Zabini mentioned the reasons behind his sudden estrangement. But there was not any sentence to indicate that.
“But Rolf, Zabini didn’t say anything about me keeping you away from them…”
“Oh, he sure thinks it. I know him… I can tell what he’s thinking by the way in which he writes to me. He calls you Lovegood at some point – that speaks to me about his beliefs more than any word could do,” Rolf explained and Luna suddenly was stricken by sadness.
“They hate me, don’t they?”
“No, silly… they don’t hate you. They just need some time to adjust to the changes and to get to know you better. But we haven’t helped them in this respect, have we? We’ve behaved like some bookworms…we’ve been hiding in our little library, without any contact from the outer world. We’ve been a bit rude… even Zabini – as conceited and self-centred as he is – feels offended by our attitude.”
“I guess…” she sighed and Rolf smiled.
“We should make it up. Now, let’s hurry… we have to be there at 9. We’ve got two hours to be ready; otherwise Zabini will keep his promise. He has a pretty nasty Twitchy Ears Hex – we don’t want to be the target” Rolf said and Luna laughed heartedly.
Before the clock struck 9, Luna was already downstairs and waiting for Rolf to come, while entertaining a little chat with Mrs. Scamander who had given her husband a sleeping potion, because he was not feeling that good. Porpentina accused that old age must have taken its toll on him but as usual Luna could understand that there was more behind than what she and her husband allowed people to see.
Nevertheless, she decided that this time she should not inquire more and instead nodded sympathetically, claiming that her father often felt the effects that the passing of the years imprinted on him. As Mrs. Scamander retreated to the kitchen again to feed the three kneazles that followed her every move around the house, Luna succumbed again to her own thoughts and reminisces that lately seemed to convey Rolf and only him.
How good she felt now that he was hers. There had been approximately five months since Rolf had kissed her and every second that had gone by, seemed to have awoken something new in her. Everyday, every night, he showed her things that had been veiled for her up until that moment. He was teaching her to love and by far these lessons were the most pleasant of all. He would kiss her and touch her so fervently that merely thinking about it made her flush forcefully. And he would make love to her so freely and passionately that sometimes she was astounded by her own daring and acceptance of his liberty. At times she felt like a toy between his arms, like one of his brushes that he so fondly used to paint her or like the keys of a piano that he would touch to produce a symphony.
He could do things that no one had ever done to her and still appear like the most natural gestures in the world. Rolf had a way of making her feel good about herself and he knew where to touch, how to kiss and when to speak.
She flinched as she heard him descending and after taking a brief look at herself in the mirror, she proceeded to the hallway to meet him. Rolf looked handsome as he always did, wearing a white shirt, black trousers and a grey middle length coat to keep him warm in that chilly November night whose air predicted the approaching of snow. In contrast with his cold appearance, Luna wore a pretty blue dress, white shoes and a navy coat that reached her thighs. He smiled upon seeing her looking all radiant and on a closer look, he noticed that she had transformed the shell he had given to her into a beautiful necklace that so elegantly poised her décolleté.
“Ready darling?” he asked while grabbing her hand and opening the front door. “Needn’t I remind you that there’s nothing to feel worried about. It’s just going to be us and some friends of mines. Trust me when I say that they don’t hate you…”
“I trust you, Rolf…” she replied calmly.
“Good,” he mumbled.
She nodded happily and then trusted him her hand, as he performed a side-along apparition to Zabini’s house. This time they had reached a field that overlooked the Manor house and the imposing garden that guarded the cemetery of Mrs. Zabini’s seven very dead husbands, as she had claimed herself. She giggled at the sight of the scribbling, just above the kissing gate and pointed it to Rolf but he did not find it amusing. He admitted that as a child he had found it funny, but now that he realized just how macabre it was, that quote only managed to send shivers down his spine. Luna agreed, but that did not stop her from thinking that Mrs. Zabini had a quirky view upon death and she was not prone to hide it.
This time they were greeted by another house elf that looked slightly younger than the former one and as they entered the grandiose hallway, he offered to take their coats, which they denied politely. They headed towards the upper floor, from where the distant sound of a piano could be heard, and as they stepped on the red marble covering the floor, he guided her to the first door on the left.
Apparently, it was the music room as its walls were covered with paintings of opera singers and composers, muggles and wizards alike, all jotted in a rather odd order that followed no chronology. This parlour was slightly smaller than the drawing room where Blaise’s birthday had been celebrated, but it preserved the same exaggerated extravagance that seemed to characterize not only the entire Manor, but also the owners.
“Scamander, you’ve come at last!” Blaise shouted upon noticing Luna and Rolf standing in the doorway. “Come on up here, my friend!”
“Blaise!” Rolf spoke. “I hope you’re not still upset about that thing…”
“Oh, no… mind you, I was never truly bugged. You see, I was going for a bit of drama. Mother says one can never have enough drama in life…” Blaise explained, but Luna felt that he was not being honest. It was the wine talking in him, right now.
The boys hugged and then they were flanked by another set of friends, among who Luna recognized the group that had been present for the last gathering of the genre: Damien who was accompanied by a pretty red-headed witch, Helena, Colin, Irina, Justin, Theodore Nott – the same who had graduated from Hogwarts a year before her and whose father had been a Death Eater – and another friend of theirs, Samson, whom Luna didn’t really know that well. She noticed some other girls giggling in a corner and she felt relieved that she was not the only one who was slightly new in the group.
“Hello Luna!” Blaise greeted her formally, whilst she rose her head up upon hearing her name.
“Good evening, Blaise,” she replied, clutching Rolf’s hand. “Nice room, by the way. I love how you’ve decorated it…”
“Mollyneux was very fond of music,” a voice reverberated from behind and as both Rolf and Luna turned around they were greeted by Cassandra Zabini’s cold snigger and the giant albino snake resting on her shoulders, which she fondled with her long red-polished nails. “Jacques Mollyneux, that’s my fourth husband. This room was thought and designed by him… he managed to complete it the week before his sudden death.”
She approached the small gathering, the girls rushed to help her take a seat but she shooed them out of the way with a swish of her hand. She looked lavish, as she always did, but that night she appeared to have outdone herself. She wore a long red dress, a cap of fur and her opulent jewelleries indicated that indeed, Mollyneux and the other six unfortunate souls that rested beneath the grounds of the domain had been very rich.
“Why the silence?” she suddenly asked upon allowing the snake to curl around a massive gold cup. “Do continue…”
The music started playing again, the conversations began and Rolf and Luna took a seat on sofa, next to Blaise and Damien. Irina initiated a small-talk with Luna, but the latter was not prone to pay attention to a word of what she was saying. Instead, she analyzed Mrs. Zabini with such curiosity that had it not been Cassandra the person in question – who adored being the object of someone’s interest – it would have found it slightly annoying.
The so-called party went out rather nice, until the point when half of the guys were very much drunk from the Firewhiskey and the exquisite drinks that the house elves had served them all night long. Rolf had not touched any glass that contained drink and that could only make Luna feel happy, but surely it did not cheer the guys a lot. At some point – no one could really make out the precise time – Damien lifted from the sofa and started showing off his skills with the wand in a bad attempt to impress the many witches that had gathered that night there.
He swished it a couple of times, mainly managing to conjure a couple of bubbles that the audience found pretty pathetic and at which point, Blaise felt like he needed to make up for the bad performance. He drew his wand at the nearest table and muttered something that no one could quite understand.
Luna felt appalled as she noticed that Blaise had imperiused a spider. He made the poor creature dance, fly in the air, and jump from table to table and in the end he directed it towards Irina’s wine cup. The girl laughed hysterically and everyone followed her, others slightly more elegantly than her. Luna could not dare to look up at the poor creature, as it stood an inch away from death. She was astounded by their cruelty.
How could someone be as poor in mind as to take amusement in this situation? She felt like crying because they were hurting the poor spider that in the end had done them no wrong. Her heart was racing madly in her chest, her fists clutched forcefully to the fabric of her dress while her gaze looked for Rolf’s.
He was frowning but he did nothing; he just stood there as petrified as she was. Were these Rolf’s friends, the one that she was trying so hard to be liked by? She felt tears rushing down at the corner of the eye, but nevertheless she managed somehow to control them enough as to allow herself not to burst there.
There was a splash and Luna knew that Blaise had let the spider fall into the cup. But what really struck her was the high degree of their amusement. Everyone was laughing, but for Luna and Rolf. She suddenly lifted from the chair and as she marched towards the door, barely suppressing her tears, she noticed Cassandra Zabini evilly sniggering at her. The woman lifted her cup at her and nodded.
Luna ran towards the door and did not look back, until she felt Rolf’s hand reaching for her shoulder, by which time they had already stepped out of the music room. She stopped and it was then that she allowed the tears to flow down on her cheeks. He looked at her, not being able to make a single coherent phrase to make up for what had happened inside. Instead he put the coat around her shoulders and tried to erase the tears.
“Is that how you have fun, Rolf?” she asked bitterly.
“No, of course not…” he replied. “That was not funny… at least I don’t think it is! That is not me, Luna. I’m sorry!”
“They are cruel and evil… that spider hadn’t done them anything. Why did Blaise kill it?”
“I don’t know. He’s drunk, probably and he’s not thinking straight. But you mustn’t let them upset you like that…It’s not worth it. Let’s go home, there’s no reason to hang around here anymore.”
“Can we have pudding?” she asked, still shocked about what had occurred, but slightly feeling more assured as he took her hand, leading her to the ground floor.
“Of course…” he replied while putting his arm around her shoulders. “I’ll ask Igor to make some for us.”
They walked over downstairs, pushed the door open and emerged outside where it had suddenly started snowing. They strolled along the domain until they reached the wrought iron gates through which they had stepped the first time they had attended a party at Zabini’s place. Luna hoped this was the last time that she would ever have to face them again. She could not bare their cruelty and evilness.
“Rolf,” she whispered as they emerged on the street, her head resting in his shoulder while his arms tucked her.
“Yes dear,” he spoke fondly.
“Can I sleep over in your room tonight?”
“Sure… In fact, I was thinking about making the change permanent. How would you like that?” Rolf told as they both stopped, before apparating back to the house.
“I’d love to…”
AN Sorry for taking so long in replying to your reviews, and updating all of my stories... plus I've been a little MIA in the past couple of months on the forums for which I apologize deeply. Despite the fact that my Uni life is going good, I'm taking only As and Bs(yay!) I have had some personal, love-related issues... I feel silly about confessing this over an author note, but I must admit that my heart is a bit tarnished... not irreparably but still wounded. So it took me some time to get all the pieces back together... and though it's not quite there, reading again all of your reviews has made me feel better and more confident about myself. So thank you for your constant support! Thank you!
Chapter 18: A not so merry Christmas
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It was Christmas and Luna was decorating the tree with Mrs. Scamander, while Rolf was watching them from behind the table where he ate a big sandwich that one of the house elves had just made for him. She conjured some red garlands and with the help of her wand she lifted it up in the air, then snaked them around the tree neatly placing them on the green branches that seemed to be tearing apart any minute with the heaviness of the ornaments. She watched him enjoying the cosy meal and suddenly felt sad because she would not get to share presents with her friends like she always did at this time of the year.
She thought of them, they were most probably organizing a party at the Burrow just as she sat there; Mrs. Weasley must have spent all morning cooking and dusting the place up, Mr. Weasley must have already installed the Christmas tree which he would decorate with the help of Angelina and George. By that time, Harry and Ginny must have arrived from London as well, in the company of Ron and Hermione and her muggle family that Arthur Weasley would pester with all sorts of funny questions. Teddy Lupin would be thrilled with the presents that his godfather would bestow him with, while his grandmother would reprimand Harry for spoiling the boy too much. And surely, Bill and Fleur would bring Victoire along, whom as little and fragile as she was, must have shown by now her Veela heritage. They would have fun and they would laugh…without her.
But the thought of spending her holidays with Rolf was making her feel slightly more comfortable, although her father being alone in this time of the year made her lose even that shred of optimism. Of course, he had left for Portugal to do some research but deep inside Luna knew that he had merely looked for an excuse not to bother her and Rolf. Xenophilius Lovegood had always been a good father and seeing his only daughter happy was more than enough as to forget all about his yearnings. He loved her and even if he were to be all alone at Christmas, at least the thought of her being happy made up for his solitude. She felt a bit lonely now that she was not accompanied by her family. She knew and loved Rolf, the Scamanders had been wonderful but they could not match her friends.
Luna was so far away from them, even though she knew that they were thinking about her just like she thought of them. She knew that no matter what happened, her friends would be there for her like they had always been – like she had always been. She realized that there were things between them that distance could not erase; there were memories, deaths of people whom they all had loved and still did, secrets they shared, and moments that had defined their friendship. Nobody could take those away from them and that mere thought managed to cheer Luna up, once more. She smiled as she finished putting the garland and as Porpentina handed her a crystal ball to hang, she started humming a Christmas carol that her mother used to sang to her when she was alive.
Rolf waved at her from across the table and smirked at the hearing of her humming but did not lift to aid the women. Instead, he leaned back on his chair and silently contemplated the sight before him. He too missed his friends, even though most of them were closer than Luna’s were. He knew that he and his friends had never shared the things that she and hers had. They did not have any secrets, any events to tie them and certainly no grief to split, as friends should. They were just a wild group of people who found similarities between each other and hung onto these until one would change – like he had. Surely, his friendship with Zabini was as strong as regular friendship between two young men should be, though one could guess that envy and jealousy often sprouted between them. At this time, it was Zabini who did not agree of the changes going on in Rolf’s life and it was he who looked reasons for quarrelling, although Rolf did not fuel those.
He knew Zabini, he knew Luna and at that point it seemed that neither was reluctant to settle for peace. Luna did not like Blaise’s behaviour and his cruelty in particular – not to mention his lack of maturity – although she seldom expressed those views, while Zabini found her ideas odd and ludicrous and would not calm down unless his relationship would come to an end. He felt at ease with Luna, but so did with his friends. He found himself on the horns of a dilemma, though at this point he was hardly forced to take any action.
He was not sorry for having left that night… Zabini had overdone it this time, even for Rolf – who had always approved of his friend’s conduct. Rolf knew – perhaps better than anyone – that such things were characteristic of his friend, but never had he believed that he would be able to show that side of him. He did not blame him, though. Blaise Zabini had been raised in that manner – his own mother had killed her husbands and perhaps even his father. Imperiusing a spider could hardly be considered outrageous while sharing a house with Cassandra Zabini – she often did that herself with her many exotic pets – but Luna did not see eye to eye with this sort of treatment and Rolf thought it wisely to agree with her.
He finally lifted from his place, brushed Luna’s forehead with a kiss and then pulled his wand out to give a hand. She thanked him and together they started hanging all sorts of ornaments on the green branches. Mrs. Scamander watched them working together, completing each other’s gestures and for the first time in years, felt like her grandson was heading to the right future – a future she had never envisioned for him before Luna’s coming.
The Christmas dinner was all set and Igor let the family know that it was time they came into the dinning room to enjoy the many delicious meals that the house elves had been cooking ceaseless since morning. Gustav descended the stairs and joined them this time, for he hardly did that lately. Rolf took a seat next to Luna, where Gustav had once sat, and upon receiving a glare from the former male habitant of the house he began talking to Luna, completely ignoring the rude gesture.
She was laughing and he felt like her cracks could make up for all the questions swarming around his head like a vortex that drew him closer and closer to the abyss. There was something in her eyes that let him know that there was an escape from all the doubts and the worries. She was the hand to grab in order to make his way back to the surface, between the dark waters of an existence he subconsciously wished he could leave behind.
But sometimes, not even the blue of her iris, not even the tender feeling of her lips or the brushing or her hair on his skin could remove the sensation that he was missing something, something vital. There was that something choking his heart, imprinting that certain claustrophobia that made him want to scream… he could not tell what it was or what it all meant for that matter. He was Rolf Scamander, he kept telling himself as some sort of mantra to help ease the agony of feeling himself somewhat irreversibly changed.
There were times when he welcomed the discovery of novelty in himself with happiness and joy, but there were also times when such thing infuriated him beyond measure or simply confused him. Ever since he could remember, he had tried to be himself and now that he was changing could he still be the one that had put so much effort into remaining unaltered? He now did things that he would have not imagined a year before, things like returning to his passion for magical creatures or sharing a nice cosy evening with a girl that would have never aroused his interest in the past.
He could paint such beautiful things that his own talent scared him to death. He could hug and kiss and touch much more intensely than before, which truly shocked him, despite having a raw knowledge of his capacities in that field. He had lost or better said, missed something – but he could not exactly tell what.
They ate; Mr. Scamander watched them from his seat, silently contemplating the shy glances that Luna would throw his grandson and the smiles which he replied with. Luna gazed up only to see the slicker grin on her mentor’s face as Rolf squeezed her hand yet again, beneath the table. And it was then that she realized that they had become some other sort of family over the past months. Maybe they had not shared with her the things that her friends had, but still they had all been there for her in times that now defined who she was.
Mr. Scamander lifted from his seat, steadying himself on the table.
“And now I’d like to say a few words…” he began speaking and Porpentina gazed at him, rather worried. He lifted his glass. “Christmas is always a time for families to get together, for friendships to be tied but most importantly, for love to be tightened. I bel…”
Mr. Scamander did not manage to finish his speech. He collapsed in front of everybody, Gustav nearly catching him before hitting the floor. Porpentina began crying.
“Quick!” Rolf mumbled while approaching his grandfather. “We must take him upstairs…Grandma, fetch the healer!”
Luna followed Porpentina to the kitchen, while Rolf and Gustav helped Mr. Scamander stand up and dragged him to the hallway. Mrs. Scamander could not even write properly at that time, for she was shaking violently and her crying didn’t seem to want to cease. Luna grabbed the quill that vibrated from the hands of the poor afflicted woman and as Quincy, one of the house elves, handed her a piece of parchment she began writing to someone she did not know. She scribbled something there about Mr. Scamander feeling very sick and as she folded the paper she felt her hands gaining the same shakiness.
“Mrs. Poppy,” Luna managed to whisper, while brushing the woman’s arm. “I need you to tell me where to send it… I don’t know who the Healer is, please…”
“It’s…” she muttered between her sobs. “ 15, Milton Avenue, his name is Patricius Calgary…”
Half an hour later, the healer came and examined Mr. Scamander carefully, only allowing Porpentina to stay by his side and sternly asking the other members of the family to leave immediately. Gustav proceeded downstairs to fetch himself some tea, while both Luna and Rolf retreated to their room to wait for the news. She entered the dormitory with her heart as tormented by fear as if it were her father who had collapsed and had required immediate assistance from a professional Healer. She did not understand what had just happened and hoped that Rolf knew more about the situation. Perhaps Mr. Scamander had felt quite often sick and had fainted many times before her arrival to Dorset.
“Rolf,” she suddenly spoke after noticing him sitting on the edge of the bed, backwards from her. He did not speak; he didn’t even flinch at the hearing of his name. He just stood there, with his eyes opened wide and his mouth contorted in a bitter expression.
“It’s going to be alright, I’m sure that everything will be just fine…He just needs to rest,” she tried to assure him.
Again, there was no reaction on his behalf. He just stared at an inexistent point on the wallpaper, not being able to make a proper sentence to alleviate the tension that was growing denser between them. Luna did not understand his silence and his lack of emotion. He did nothing and it slightly worried her. She felt her heart sinking in a type of sadness like she had felt that night when she had seen Fred Weasley’s dead body lying on the ground, beneath the enchanted ceiling of the Grand Hall with the ghost of his last smile still etched on his cold purple lips.
“Is he ill?” she asked.
“I don’t know!” he shouted angrily, his voice emanating such despair like Luna had never witnessed it. She started shaking, knowing that Rolf had never shouted at her. She did not understand his outburst.
“Why are you…?” she tried to speak but he cut her off.
“I don’t want to talk right now, Luna! I’m not in the mood to answer to your questions!” he retorted angrily. “I know nothing and even if I knew, I could hardly explain it to you now. So, leave me alone!”
She felt her cheeks being covered by the tears, but she did not prompt to have them erased. Her lips started shaking violently and at that point she knew that she could not stop the sobs from being heard by him. She collapsed on the bed as her feet could not support her anymore, and as she hit the fluffy surface of the cotton sheets she covered her eyes with her palms. She did not want to see, she did not want to hear him shouting ever again… His voice had sounded so cruel, so not like him. She huddled, her chin touching her knees and her legs slightly crossed. And she cried because she didn’t understand anything of what as happening around her, because Rolf was so upset that he had completely forgotten of who he was.
Then, as her sobs accentuated, she felt a pair of arms tucking her in a warm embrace. She glanced up only to see Rolf standing inches away from her, with his head resting on her knees.
“I’m sorry, Luna” he apologized. “I shouldn’t have shouted. You have done me no wrong… But the truth is that I know as little as you do.”
She just hugged him, pulling him tighter and tighter, afraid that if she let go of him he would start shouting again. She loved him…she didn’t want to see him hurt. Yet, he was. They stayed in their room, huddled in bed, listening to their hearts beat and not even mentioning a word, until Mrs. Scamander had knocked at the door. Newt Scamander was alright for now.
AN Hello dear readers:) As a special belated gift for Christmas I am uploading three chapter instead of just one so I hope you all enjoy them:) And just as a little something I've put up a little video depicting briefly what has happened so far in WLMR. You can all see it on youtube if you wish, if only you type when luna met rolf. It should be the first video:) Thank you all for your kindness and appreciation and have a lovely new year! Roe
Chapter 19: Bone of contention
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Rolf rose from the bed, with Luna watching his every move with the same type of admiration like she always did when they would spend the morning in bed, eating breakfast and talking of the littlest of things. But this time they had not talked and merely allowed themselves to succumb in some sort of silence that neither was eager to break that easily. He was worried, she could tell that by merely looking at him, yet today she would not question him about this tension. She knew what caused it and she also knew that it would take so much more than a bunch of questions or a smile to relieve it. His grandfather was sick and no one really wanted him to know much about it.
Regardless of the new situation, Rolf did not look to accompany his grandfather. He just spent his mornings in his room, all by himself, until Luna finished her assignments. They would talk then, about what was going around, about the things that his family were keeping away from him and Luna, implicitly. They believed that Mr. Scamander was ill, really ill…but they could not grasp what determined the family to keep it all in a low profile, particularly towards Rolf who was perhaps the one who needed most of answers. He and Mr. Scamander had been so close when Rolf was a child and somehow Luna knew that they still were, despite everything that had been going around between them for the past years. Luna could see it so clearly.
He cared about the man who had brought him up and she knew that he was worried about the illness. She could feel his frustration at the sight of his grandfather, who sometimes felt incredibly sick and did not even descend for dinner; she saw his pain and his angst and the same inability that was torturing Rolf, was killing Luna as well. Her words did not have the same power over him as they had once had over her friends. Her hugs did not take the pain away and certainly, her eyes could no longer restore the broken pieces to his soul.
Luna lifted from the bed and sat on the edge, gazing outside where the sun of April seemed to be sparkling more powerful than ever. Mrs. Scamander’s garden had started blossoming again and the apple trees that she loved so much had already started growing the most beautiful pink flowers where the fruit would sprout later from. The little boat swing was immobile as it always was, tied between the knobbed trunks of two trees. She now realized that she had never swung on it, despite having thought about it several times since she had arrived there.
Rolf looked at her, as peaceful and serene as she always seemed to be. She stood on the edge of the bed without making a sound and it was then that he realized that this silence that she kept was all because of him. If it had been for her, she would have long began talking about whatever enthused her nowadays but since he could hardly make up a coherent phrase in his head, she adjusted to his needs. He approached her, tucked an arm around her waist while her head rested on his chest.
“Zabini and I are meeting today…” he suddenly spoke much to her relief.
“He wrote to you?” she asked.
“No…” he replied. “I did.”
“Oh, I see… where are you meeting? At his place…?”
“It’s somewhere neutral, Diagon Alley. It’s been quite a while since I’ve last been to London. I guess it will do me good if I change the atmosphere a bit,” he admitted.
“Quite true…” she said rather disappointed. “Well, then let’s get you dressed up…”
“Luna,” he whispered as she moved aside to reach for a wrapper. “You don’t mind, do you?”
She stared bemused at him and then smiled, like she always did. “Of course not, you’re being silly. I think I just miss mines.”
“Yes,” she mumbled while handing him a shirt to wear from the closet. “Speaking of which, Harry and Ginny owled me the other day…”
She nodded and then helped him button his shirt. “On the 2nd of May we’re celebrating the second anniversary of the Final Battle and Victoire’s first birthday. They’re having a party at the Burrow and they’ve asked us to come.”
“Will there be many people?”
“I’m not sure… I guess there will be the usual: Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Neville and his fiancée, Hannah, Bill and Fleur, Percy – who apparently is bringing someone new along – George and Angelina – who by the way are getting married next year – and some other people that you wouldn’t know like Zack Smith, Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas,” Luna explained to which Rolf nodded.
“The whole Dumbledore’s Army right?” he then queried.
“Except for Cho Chang,” she muttered. “She’s getting married to a muggle the following day so she can’t attend the meeting…” she responded while reaching for her jeans from where she took a coin which she handed to Rolf.
“That was our manner of keeping in touch. Hermione used a Protean Charm on them, so that every time Harry’s coin was altered with a new date for the meetings, the group would know. Look what it says now…” she spoke excitedly.
Rolf picked up the golden coin and then weighed in his hand. He rolled it around and glanced at the neat writing on it.
“2-05,” he read which made her smile. “It’s quite unique. Do you all still keep those?”
“Of course we do,” said Luna as he gave her back the golden coin. “We’ve grown emotionally attached to them over the years. They were our binding in times when we could not communicate properly and in the end, if for these coins maybe Voldemort would not have been vanquished after all. That night, we called in all the members to fight the Death Eaters… some of them died, most unfortunately, like Dennis’ brother or Fred.”
Rolf nodded, despite not being able to understand why he had done such gesture. He did not understand their fondness for a coin because he had not been there that night to fight with them. He had not defied the Ministry of Magic and certainly he had not battled a pack of experienced Death Eaters. It was yet another moment when Luna made him feel so different from her… she had been through so much and he had merely been a spoiled teenager who had never even bothered with the war, because he had been in Tuscany playing Quidditch with his cousins and friends. Luna had seen people dying, people that she had cared for and who had cared for her in turn while he browsed catalogues from jokes shops. And then as the survivors mourned for the dead, he had come back to England because he could not bear with his father anymore. He had not even dared to confront his own father. He had run away like a coward to seek shelter in Dorset, with his grandfather and grandmother.
“Will we go to the party?” asked Luna as she fixed the lapel of his shirt.
“Yes,” he replied.
“You have my word…” he spoke and then kissed her hand.
“Look, you’re all set!” she whispered and as he turned around he took a shirt glimpse of his reflection in the mirror.
He thanked her for having helped and then as he picked up his jacket she emerged outside on the hallway without saying another word. He lingered inside for another few moments and then as he glanced at his wristwatch he realized it was time to leave. He took one final look behind as though feeling sorry about leaving and went out on the hallway, hoping to find Luna waiting. She was not there, however.
The Leaky Cauldron was quite crowded that day and as he stepped inside the bar he immediately noticed Hannah Abbot rushing to attend to all the customers with such passion and dedication that Rolf thought that the new landlady was much more appropriate for the job than Tom, the former employee. He waved at her, she smiled and then, he proceeded to the inner yard through a door where the apparent regular wall of bricks was disclosed immediately. He tapped some of the bricks with his wand and then proceeded to the noisy street with shops stretching on both sides, selling all kinds of things that Rolf, as a child, had enjoyed very much.
He was meeting Blaise at Gringotts, where his friend had gone to get some money in order to buy himself a new broom. His Nimbus did not suffice his needs anymore. He walked past the Apothecary, Flourish and Blotts and as soon as he reached Madam Malkin’s he noticed Blaise emerging from Knockturn Alley. He was quite surprised to meet him there.
“Zabini!” he shouted, trying to catch his attention.
“Oh, Rolf,” Blaise said, as he approached him. He hugged Rolf and together they proceeded to one of the many cafés with their brightly coloured umbrellas over the outside tables. They sat at one of these tables while a nice-looking waitress took their order.
“So, Rolf…” Zabini spoke pompous after their drinks had been brought and the payment had been done by both. “What made you want to owl me?”
“I… I am sorry about what happened that night. I shouldn’t have brought Luna along. She… doesn’t understand certain things,” Rolf said, slightly abashed that he was actually apologizing to Blaise – which he had never done before. “She’s fragile and can easily be offended by such… trifles.”
“I’m glad you’ve finally seen that…” Blaise responded while sipping from his tea. “Make me understand, Rolf. What did you see in this… girl? I know her quite well as she attended Hogwarts roughly the same time as I did. She was and still is to this day, odd. No offence really, but it’s the truth… What did she do to you?”
“I don’t know,” Rolf replied. “I honestly have no idea what drew me to her…”
“Do you love her?” Zabini asked quite irritated at the mere thought.
“N… no…” Rolf stuttered. “Definitely no…” he went on, though deep inside he knew that he did not have the answer to his question. He did not know whether he loved Luna or not. He had yet to decipher that.
“Your actions leave much to be desired. They state the contrary, in fact. You’ve estranged yourself from your friends, from the only people that have really understood and helped you over the years when your family wanted something else for you. You’ve basically traded us for a woman you don’t know and whom you don’t even love, apparently. That’s what I can’t really understand, Rolf.”
“I like her and we get along quite well…” he admitted.
“Sure…so what about us? You know me Rolf, I’ve never been the type to show affection but you disappointed me when you chose Lovegood over us.” Blaise complained, making Rolf snigger. “Damien and I have been talking lately about this and he agrees that this girl is not a good influence on you. We care about you and we see that she’s dragging you along into something you don’t fit. Come on Rolf, have you taken a look at her family? Her father runs the Quibbler on Merlin’s beard…”
“I know I’ve let you all down and I’m sorry about that. I shouldn’t have ceased contact with any of you… As for Luna, well, she’s nice and caring in her own sort of way. I like that about her…”
“Irina has told me you’ve introduced her to your family,” Zabini mocked and Rolf smiled. “Now that's something you’ve never done before…”
“It was a coincidence… My family had come to celebrate my birthday; Luna was there already…so I really didn’t have a choice. You know these things don’t suit me. It just happened; under no circumstances would I have introduced Luna if it hadn’t been on such a short notice. Chill Zabini, I’m not going to marry her after all!” Rolf explained and as Zabini smirked he started understanding where his friend had aimed at.
“You’ve changed so much,” Blaise said in a brusque voice as though a knife had been stuck into his stomach. “I hardly recognize you, mate…”
“I’ve not changed,” Rolf defended himself. “I’ve just… strayed a bit, added a bit of colour to my life. One needs adventure every once in a while, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, well you’ve had enough of fun, I guess… The parties are not the same without you…” Blaise added bitterly and suddenly Rolf felt ashamed that he had estranged himself from his friends.
“Life has not been the same without the parties, either,” he replied.
“Well, let’s then have one, just like in the good old days… Next month?”
“Set a date and I’ll come!” Rolf spoke quite self-assured. “Without Luna, of course…”
“I’m glad you’re with us again,” said Blaise and lifted his glass in the air, as though drinking to the occasion.
“It’s good to be back!”
Chapter 20: True Colours
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Luna stood in the orchard of the Burrow, enjoying what was the second anniversary of the Final Battle and Victoire’s ever first birthday. Everybody seemed to be having a good time, Harry and Ginny were definitely happier than ever with their marriage, while Hermione and Ron were heading towards a wedding of their own, most probably in the following years.
Teddy Lupin was running around, trying to chase some of the bubbles that George had blown for him all over the garden, while Seamus and Dean Thomas staunchly tried to prevent him from falling. It seemed that everyone had gained a certain liking for the bundle of joy that Teddy was, particularly since they all knew how much the boy had lost even though he scarcely minded that now. Fleur was carefully feeding Victoire who as always enjoyed being the centre of attention, while Bill and Percy’s new girlfriend, Audrey, were just being introduced.
There was a nice atmosphere and it seemed to Luna that the two years that had elapsed since that night, had gone by too quickly. It seemed like just yesterday she had watched so many brave people dying in a battle that had eventually set the survivors free. They were still missed to this day, though on that beautiful 2nd of May, this knowledge hardly gave those gathered a sense of sadness. They were happy today, despite the motif of their get-together.
They were buoyant because today they were celebrating two years of freedom and despite the absence of several important people, they could still smile and enjoy each other’s presence. The mere parting with so many wonderful people no longer posed that threat of succumbing them into the deadliest mourning, but it rather gave them hope – hope that one day they would all meet again, in another dimension, in another time when things such as grief and pain would no longer exist.
Ginny laughed hard and her raging giggles managed to wake Luna from her day dreaming. Teddy had just pulled the table cloth and all the gifts for Victoire had fallen over him. The boy’s hair turned pink, just like his late mother’s, and for a second Andromeda’s eyes seemed to flicker in sadness. The violent shades of pink instantly changed to turquoise and the surge of sorrow glistening in the eyes of all those who had once known Tonks and Professor Lupin died at once, only to be replaced by a genuine smile. Luna merely flinched and despite the contagious laughter of Ginny, she did not join the happy gathering.
She was concerned because Rolf had said he would come with her. He had excused himself that morning, telling her that he had some issues to attend but he would make it to the party in the afternoon. Now, as she glanced at her watch, she noticed that it was way past afternoon and Rolf had yet to come. Where was he? Had something bad happened to him? She could hardly cease the obnoxious rambling going around in her head at the thought of Rolf being hurt and unable to contact anyone. There were various scenarios flashing before her but she kept pushing them aside, telling herself that she was merely imagining things. Rolf was alright and he would come as he said he would.
She comforted herself in the recollection of the days of her childhood, when she had found friendship in times when such feelings were very much on a brink of extinction. With Voldemort and the Death Eaters on the loose, one could hardly trust anyone but his family. Who would have thought that day in the Express that in five years’ time they’d all be sitting there in the orchard of the Burrow, enjoying a nice little gathering remembering the very things that had once been normality.
She glanced again at the road, hoping to spot Rolf apparating and then entering the yard, casually stepping on the green grass and smiling at her. But he didn’t come, not that instant, nor any other moment of the day when Luna had desperately thrown a look at the very place. He had not come and as the people started leaving one by one, she began panicking. Had he forgotten about it? Surely he hadn’t, she had mentioned it that same morning and he had assured her that nothing would stop him from attending the party. Could something bad have happened? Of all her doubts, it was this thought that concerned her the most. She couldn’t lose another dear person, not now. Her heart could not bear to part yet again with someone whom she dearly loved, just like it had happened to her mother. She could not longer sit on that chair waiting…she had done that for the past hours for she had been afraid to move place in case Rolf came and did not find her.
She counted the hours that had gone by and suddenly realized that what was to be a merely three hours delay had transformed in nine hours. Rolf would not do this without letting her know – he would tell her if he didn’t manage to come. He would send her an owl or just send someone for her to announce her that something had come up and he could no longer keep his promise.
She knew then that something terribly wrong must have happened. Perhaps Mr. Scamander had had another attack and taken by the rapidity of the events Rolf had forgotten to tell her everything. Maybe he was now in St. Mungo’s receiving very bad news and she was not there to support him and aid him in case he required it. Without giving it further thinking, Luna grabbed her bag and wand and upon saying goodbye to those that had remained behind for some late night chats, she apparated back to Dorset.
The sight of the house had never appeared more soothing than that day. She opened the small gate and as she moved along the alleyway she noticed that the light from Mr. Scamander’s room was still on, which meant that he was alright. As refreshing and calming as that thought might have been on a regular basis for Luna it only managed to confuse her now. If Mr. Scamander was alright then something might have happened to her Rolf.
She ran towards the door, opened it with a quick movement and upon reaching the upper floor she bumped in with Gustav. He wore a travelling cloak and at that point Luna wondered why Gustav would choose that over his normal jacket. Only at the sight of his big trunk did she realize that the young man was definitely going on a journey. He seemed to have packed all his belongings and the door leading to his room no longer bore the sign that had once spelled “Gustav’s room”.
“Sorry,” she whispered while glancing at his trunk.
“Oh, no problem…” he replied.
“Gustav, where are you leaving?”
“I’m going back home. This whole service was never really my thing. I’ve managed to persuade my father to allow me to go back to Paris and find a job that I enjoy. Besides, it seems that Mr. Scamander is no longer healthy enough to keep training us…” he explained to which Luna sighed.
“Oh, I see… then, good luck with whatever you do. May all of your dreams come true” she spoke while moving aside as to allow Gustav to handle the trunk on the stairs.
“Thank you, Luna,” he said. “Well, farewell. I hope I’ll see you again some time…”
He levitated the trunk to the ground floor and the started descending the sequence of stairs.
“Gustav!” Luna called, making him turn around. “Do you happen to know where Rolf is?”
“He came back at around four and then left for some Blaise Zabini’s place. He told that to Mrs. Scamander. Apparently he had a party to attend…” he replied and as she nodded silently he went on to descend, leaving nothing but bitterness behind.
Luna stood there in the middle of the hallway for a while and then decided that she should go there to see with her eyes if he had intentionally missed the gathering at the Burrow. She emerged again outside, nearly missing the Knight Bus who had come to get Gustav and as she visualized the Zabini Manor House she apparated to the place that she dreaded going to.
She did not linger anymore in watching the graves of the seven dead husbands, as she usually did, and instead walked as fast as she could towards the entrance door. A house elf greeted her inside and led her to the music room, where the apparent gathering took place.
She opened the gilded door that led to the parlour and instantly noticed Rolf, sitting on a couch with a bottle of Firewhiskey in one hand and the other one clutching a good-looking witch. He leaned over and kissed that girl with such passion that it made Luna’s heart skip a beat. She clenched her teeth trying very hard not to cry but at that point, the disappointment and the heartache that the sight of Rolf gave her could not be hidden.
Zabini noticed her standing in the doorway. They stared at each other for a brief moment and as Luna stepped inside, determined to drag Rolf out of there, she felt all eyes beaming curiously at her. She reached the couch where Rolf was enjoying himself with the bottle. He glanced up at her and as she revealed her big blue eyes, his lips curled in a dim-witted expression.
“Rolf,” she spoke shyly and one could easily guess from her tone that she was fighting very hard not to burst into crying. “Get up! We’re going home… the fun is over…”
“But darling…” he mumbled while unsuccessfully trying to steady himself. She grabbed him just in time, preventing him from spreading himself on the marble floor. “You’ve just come… Stay! Zabini bring another of these…” he shouted while pointing at the bottle.
“No, Rolf. We’re not staying anymore. Let’s go home… You’re drunk!”
“I am not drunk!” he spoke loudly so that everyone could hear him. “And who are you to tell me what to do? I can stay if I want to…And you can’t do a darn thing about it!”
She clasped her mouth but did not gesture anything to him. She felt betrayed and so foolish.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean that…” he muttered and then passed out, only that this time Luna did not catch him in time.
She then leaned over, grabbed him by his arms and supported him again. She took her wand from the pocket and levitated him downstairs. Nobody moved around, nobody made a sound. The silence pained Luna but despite it all, she pursued her way towards the entrance door from where she could safely apparate to the house.
Luna carried Rolf over to their room and placed him on the bed. She watched him sitting there, passed out and with a strong smell of firewhiskey and cheap perfume emanating from his breath. This was not the man she had thought him to be. Yet she loved him so badly that the disillusionment of seeing him as whom he was, felt like free falling from the Astronomy Tower. She had laid all her trust and love on this man and he had failed her in every way possible.
And then she cried… she cried because there was nothing that she could do to mend her heart again. She cried because for the first time she had trusted her heart to someone, he had broken it into so many pieces that merely attempting to put it back together would bruise her even more. She had never felt like this before, not even when her mother had died.
She was choking with air, her lungs did not seem to be able to work properly and the hands did not want to stop shaking anymore. She could not think at that point and it appeared that merely walking would prove to be problematic with all that pain numbing her body. She placed her hands on her chest and pressed hard on it, hoping it would ease the hurting but it didn’t. Nothing could ever restore what he had taken from her that night. He had robbed her of her peace, of her hope… of everything that had kept her strong all this time.
He had promised things…and he had broken every single of those vows, like cranes of paper. She knew she had allowed herself to love an illusion, for Rolf Scamander was not the man she thought he was. He was just like his friends, no better than Zabini and the whole lot that had fun by imperiusing defenceless creatures. Tonight, she felt like the little spider that Zabini had drowned in a cup of wine. She was chocking tonight because she had lived for the past months under a mirage.
There had been signs, which she had ignored. First, there were those questions that had never left her mind while on the trip and then it was Mrs. Zabini – she had been right after all. And all those moments, all those sneers, all those acid comments that she had not understood back then were coming back to her now and they all made sense. She could not stay here anymore after feeling what she felt, after having seen him in his true light. She would leave… she didn’t know where to but she would go as far as possible from him.
She lifted from the bed, still trying to erase the tears that kept falling from her eyes and then she thought that she should explain her decision to Rolf. She sat at the desk while enchanting her clothes to pack themselves and pulled a piece of parchment from a drawer along with a quill. She wrote to him of her disappointment, of her pain, of her gleeful realization that he was not the man she thought she knew and loved, despite having a hunch that he would not care. He had preferred his friends over her and at that point it made all the sense to Luna.
They were who he was and she was so different that now it seemed ludicrous to even presume that she could have ever been a part of his world. She folded the piece of parchment upon completing the letter and then dragged the trunk along. She took one last glance at the man whom she did not recognize, silently sleeping in the bed and then closed the door behind her.
It was Ginny who opened to Luna. She wore a night gown and a silk wrapper on top, which shined in the pale light of the flash lamps of 12, Grimmauld Place front entrance. She appeared to have been sleeping at that moment and Luna suddenly felt sorry for having woken up her friend.
“Luna,” Ginny spoke, rather startled to see her friend standing in the doorway. “Is something wrong?”
“Yes,” Luna whispered and then threw herself into Ginny’s arms. “Everything is wrong…”
“Shh, we’re going to help you. Come on in… I’ll get Harry to make us some tea…”
The basement kitchen of 12 Grimmauld Place was neatly decorated and the atmosphere genuinely resembled that of the Burrow’s but Luna hardly took notice of it. She stood at the table, with Ginny close by, hugging and comforting her while Harry was watching the kettle boiling on the cooking stove. He too seemed worried and the sharp green eyes sparkling behind the round spectacles did not bedight his mood.
“Luna, dear...” Ginny spoke softly. “Tell us what happened and we’ll do our best to help you. Don’t keep it in…”
“Yeah, Luna,” Harry spoke clumsily while taking a seat in front of the women and handing them their cups of hot tea.
Luna glanced up from her palms and watched her friends’ faces, all bright and well-intended. She could trust them as she always had and unlike Rolf, they would keep their promises. She told them every bit of that night, how he had promise her things that he had not been able to keep up, how she had found him in Zabini’s house kissing a woman he didn’t even know and mostly how she was determined to leave it all behind. Ginny understood and so did Harry, though by the looks on their faces one could clearly tell that they were infuriated with what Rolf had done. She expressed her sadness and that terrible aching that did not seem to leave her heart.
She did not cry this time, in their presence. But she talked to them of how she felt at realizing that she loved a man who did not love her back, of how deep inside she knew that she didn’t hate him for the humiliation that he had submitted her to. She had surrendered to a feeling that in the end had done her no good. He had played her like a toy, like an insignificant piece that held no value in his eyes… he had lied to her and she had engulfed every single of his words with such avidness.
She had ignored the signs that foretold the tragedy and for the first time in months Luna realized that she had changed too much. What had happened to the Luna who saw the things that others didn’t? He had shadowed her with his charm, with his ability to woo her… he had crushed her with his cynicism and strength and now all that was left of the old Luna was just a tiny flicker – which she would hold onto with her life, if necessary.
“Harry,” Luna spoke again after a long silence of cogitation.
“Yes,” he whispered, not quite sure why she would require his assistance.
“Teach me, Harry…teach me how to mend this like you taught us the spells in the DA meetings. Tell me you know how… tell me it’s just as easy as a Patronus!” she pledged.
“I wish I could Luna… If I knew how, I would teach you because there’s no other person I’d rather do that for than you. I would... if only I knew how myself. But I don’t,” he spoke, rather frustrated.
“Love is not easy, darling...” Ginny muttered while erasing her tears. “Some people get the best of it, some get the worst… but in the end it’s a matter of how we choose to handle the pain that’s left after it’s gone.”
“What makes others worthy of it? What did I lack in order to be happy?” Luna questioned.
“It is not you who lacks something… It is Rolf who misses the greatest thing that had ever happened to him. It is not your doing that it’s over… he is responsible for everything, whether he realizes it or not,” Ginny explained to which Harry nodded approvingly.
“You deserve to be happy, Luna. Never doubt that… It was Rolf who had not earned it…” Harry seconded his wife. “Hey, we’re here…”
Luna closed her eyes and tried to settle some peace among her thoughts, but nothing seemed to calm down the inner rambling. Rolf had taken her peace away and she could not take it back, no matter how hard she tried.
“Ginny,” she whispered. “I need a favour…”
“Anything darling… Harry and I would do anything to help you. What is it that you need?”
“Can you, please, speak to Charlie? I want to spend some time there in Romania, I think I’d like it…” she responded.
“Of course…I’ll owl him tonight and you’ll be able to leave anytime you want.”
“But you can also stay here for as long as you please…” Harry added.
“Thank you,” she spoke bitterly. “I’ll leave tomorrow anyway… I need some time on my own, to find myself again because…” she paused.
“We know,” said Harry while reaching a hand to her.
“We’re going to take care of you, as you did for us back then when we needed it. Do you remember what Neville asked us that day when you graduated, in the forest?”
“He asked us whether we were going to be friends forever…”
“And you said that we would always be that, no matter what” Ginny replied. “You were right Luna… We’ll never leave you and whenever you need us you just have to shout for help and we’ll move mountains if necessary to reach you. We’ll get through this together…The world did not end with Rolf Scamander!”
“But it did for him without you…” Harry said while clasping Luna’s hand.
“Now, we should all get to bed,” Ginny spoke. “I think you’d do with a good night sleep. I’ll give you a Sleeping Potion because you’ll sure need the rest. Romania’s rather far from here.”
Chapter 21: Dear Rolf,
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It was still dark when Rolf woke up. His head was hurting badly and merely moving would prove to be impossible without feeling that terrible aching pulsating, numbing every inch of his tired and worn-out body. Not even thinking could be regarded as being easy and it certainly wasn’t relieving in any way at that time. Nevertheless, he opened his eyes, feeling partly grateful that the sun had yet to rise – the light would have been a real hindrance for his tired eyes – and partly disappointed because it hadn’t, since now he had to move in order to get some lighting in the room.
He then remembered having a bottle of the potion that his grandmother gave to him when he had a hang-over and it always helped eased the pain and the usual ill-humour. It was in one of the upper cabinets, a short distance away from his bed. How he would manage to walk over to it without feeling that sharp pain crossing every damned cell of his brain was an issue that could prove to be problematic at some point, but the urge to have his problem fixed should be after all, reason good enough to face the aching. Or so he thought. He lifted from the bed holding his fingers next to the temple, hoping that if the pain should come at least the coldness in his hand would numb it instantly. He stood astir and tried to guess where he truly was. He made up through the darkness the shape of the closet whose door was wide open revealing much of his clothes.
He noticed the desired cabinet and headed straight to it. He reached out for a green coloured potion which he engulfed as soon as he managed to open the tap. It didn’t look appealing, nor did it smell tempting but Rolf knew that it would do him all the good. He drank it all as his grandmother had often instructed him to and then threw the tiny empty flask in the rubbish bin, just beneath the desk.
Rolf tried to remember what had happened that night: he had gone to Zabini’s party, had had so much fun and had drunk enormous amounts of Firewhiskey and that red wine that smelled so fine and aristocratic. And then he had snogged that girl whose name he didn’t even remember now, though he had a hunch that she had never mentioned it anyway. He had not wanted to kiss her, it had just happened. He had been driven by the alcohol swarming in his veins and he now regretted it. A memory flashed before his eyes and he realized that Luna had seen it all. She had barged into the music room and had seen him there, drunker than he had ever been in his life. And he had hurt her; he had said things that he would not have said if he had been sober. He had seen her eyes watering – he had made her cry.
Rolf buried his head between his hands, not being able to believe his own attitude. He had behaved horribly and towards someone who had done nothing, but love him. Panic took over his heart, the blood started pumping faster in his veins and merely breathing seemed impossible at that point. Thousands of questions and scenarios wandered through his hazy mind.
He opened his eyes, hoping that it was all a dream and that Luna was still there in the very room they had spent so many wonderful moments. But she wasn’t there. He clasped his mouth with his palm afraid that he might scream. He then wringed his hands forcefully and moved slowly across the room trying to put some sense into his thoughts. But nothing made sense anymore.
Why hadn’t he gone with her to that party? Why had he lied to the only woman who had ever cared for him truly? Why had he cheated on her when at no time had he planned such thing?
What had he done?
He started shivering. His legs didn’t seem to listen to him anymore and before even realizing it he was halfway down to Luna’s old room, hoping that she had slept there. He opened the door slowly, thinking to himself that he shouldn’t wake her up, never really understanding that it was her absence that he dreaded the most. And his worst fear had been true. Luna was gone. She was not there. The bed was just as she had left it when they had decided to share his bedroom. There were no clothes in the closet because she had relocated them all in his armoire only a couple of months prior to that night. Everything was still and that deathly silence worried him in a way it would have never done it before.
Rolf returned to his room and the very thing he did upon entering was checking if her clothes were still in the closet. He opened both of its doors wide only to come across the desolate sight of the empty shelves where once her coloured clothes had been. He touched the wooden surface and silently sniffed the air that still carried her scent. Luna had left him.
He stood astir, in front of the closet, speechless and without daring to make a movement. He couldn’t think properly… he couldn’t even open his mouth or make any other simple gesture because the pain in his heart was too grave.
He thought he would die of it and at that point it was the only thing he ever wanted to do – to die like a pitiful, despicable being. He deserved it and perhaps it would serve him as some sort of liberation, because having to go through the day without Luna did not seem to work for him anymore. How could he have been so stupid?
He finally managed to move and decided that he could not stand anymore and so he sat on the edge of the bed. The pain that he had so complained about as he had woken up seemed to have died away. The one in his heart though, hadn’t. It was there and it made breathing impossible, not that the air would seem inspirable at that point. Nothing was as it once had been if Luna was gone. Nothing…
He gazed up – tired of contemplating his toes – and as soon as he had lifted his head, he noticed an envelope resting on the desk. He picked it up and opened it, realizing that it had been written by Luna. He was afraid to unfold the paper, because he knew what lay between the lines. It was her heart – the one that he had shamelessly shattered. Nevertheless, he understood that he needed to read it… he needed to see her pain expressed, to feel guilty and get that stab in the heart, like she had experienced it that same night when she had seen the man she loved, kissing another woman. He opened the letter, fully aware that if he did it, he would never be the same again. He did not want to be the same again.
By the time you read this letter, hopefully I shall be long gone – somewhere where we can’t hurt each other anymore, where I can finally stop dreaming that you’re the man I want you to be… in a place where my heart will learn to heal and return to its habitual state again.
Leaving you, Rolf, is not a simple thing to do but then, loving you was not that facile either. As I sit here, at the desk where you’re probably sitting just as you read these lines, I condemn myself for having hung on too tightly of this illusion that you and I were… I wanted so badly to believe in us that halfway through it I missed the things that mattered. There were signs Rolf…so many signs, which I’ve ignored because I loved you and I loved the idea of us. I always was the type who noticed things that others did not see, but I’m afraid that this hope of you ever loving me, has blinded me until I could see nothing but you and the illusion which you fed my heart with. I was the narrow-minded.
It sounds so unlike of me to settle with ignorance. This time, however, I think I was not myself anymore.
Tonight I’ve finally decided to let go because it just hurts too much to stand in your way. I’m afraid that if I stay just a little bit, I’ll never be able to find my path again. I had come into your house with a plan that I’ve put on a second place when you walked into my life. Now it’s time I granted it my full attention because of all the things that I’ve ever clung to, you were the only one who’s never proven himself towards all the effort that I invested.
You know… I once heard that love is blind, but I did not believe it then, nor could I understand it at that moment. Now I see what it means. I feel it. As I am on the verge of leaving you forever, I feel like this blindfold that you’ve place on my eyes has finally been lifted and I can see so clearly. Everything seems so obvious to me now. My heart did not let my eyes acknowledge the truth. We’re different. You are different.
There’s always someone who loves more in a relationship and faith had it, that it should be me that person. I’m not afraid to admit that I love you and perhaps I’ll love you for a long time, despite the pain you’ve submitted me to.
I’m leaving and I don’t want to remain in debt with you. So, on the table, next to the envelope you’ll find a galleon. A galleon for the bet that I lost that day, during summer… Apologize to your grandparents for having left without even saying a proper goodbye – this should probably be the last thing I ever require of you. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out, that I was not enough for you...
I could fill now pages and pages, trying to explain you what you need to understand, but I know that words could never really describe how this feels like. I can only hope that my silence will do…
He felt his lips shaking nervously but he knew that nothing could make them stop. He read and read her letter until his eyes started hurting, or perhaps their wetting was due to the sadness conveyed by those sentences that he now understood perfectly. He had been a fool… he had hurt the only woman who had truly loved him… the one he loved with all his heart. Yes, he loved her and it had taken a bitter letter of goodbye to make him see that. It had not been Luna the one that had been kept under a permanent blindfold all these months, but him. He had neither seen the love that she felt for him, nor the one that had, at one point, started growing in him. Luna was the woman for him and he had lost her. Nothing could ever bring her back again.
He dropped the letter and as soon as his eyes fixed the golden galleon on the desk, he fell to his knees. He could not longer stand up. It hurt too much, knowing that she would never hold him again, that she would never speak to him… that she would never be his Luna. He had let her down when she had laid all her trust on him. He touched the place where her lips had often been but he could not sense their warmth, their softness… not even their memory lingered now on his skin and that mere acknowledgement of this brought tears to his eyes.
Soon enough the perfume of her neck would leave his nostrils, the shape of her body would disappear from his bed, the warmth of her hand would no longer numb the frozenness in his and the taste of her lips would be nothing but a distant memory. It was over and the mere idea of him having to go on without her felt like a knife piercing his flesh. Her name started resounding in his head, at first like an echo slowly dragging him in a sweet oblivion; “Luna, Luna, Lunaaa”… and then, as Rolf gazed up at one of those portraits that he had painted of her, the sound in his head became clearer and louder. It pained him. He had always believed that heartaches take a figurative form, that they do not really feel outside one’s mind. But now he realized that when one’s heart is shattered, the whole body takes the burden. Everything hurt and there was this void in his chest that felt like a freefall.
Rolf had never cried before, had never even tried hard to contain tears for they had never formed in his eyes. But as he looked around, acknowledging the nothingness that surrounded him, for the first time in years a tear escaped his big green eye without any sort of effort. It surprised him even to notice how incredibly easy it is to let the pain out, to express it physically. But it did not help him. It did not offer any sort of solace and instead it only seemed to remind him evermore of his mistakes. One fell and then another one and then another one without any conclusion. And then he suddenly realized that he had nothing. Luna had been everything and without her, Rolf was left purposeless.
He rose from the floor, grabbed the coin from the desk and went outside, on the hallway, where the same paining silence ruled. He went downstairs and then opened the front door. He stepped outside, completely ignoring the chillness of the morning and headed straight for the eastern part of the domain. He walked through the alcove, his bare feet touched the cold asphalt but he didn’t even flinch as the chillness pierced him through the bones.
The fountain was still there with the tiny smiling angels made of marble, on which he had leaned that day when he and Luna had first talked. He closed his eyes, turned around, sitting backwards from the water, and then threw the golden sickle into the fountain.
“I wish Luna would come back to me,” he whispered and then stood there with his eyes still closed, trying to remember every detail of her face, every flourishing of her raging laughter… every single moment that had defined her.
He opened his eyes but there was no one around, no living or dead soul; just him and his memories of the woman he loved, but to whom he had never told the three words that she had longed to hear. He turned around, this time facing the endlessness of the horizon that she often lost her gaze into. The sun was rising from within the sea. He sat there all by himself, barefoot on the cold asphalt, watching a sunrise that would never feel the same without Luna.
ANThank you guys for all of your wonderful reviews:) Your feedback has been amazing! Well this is a new chapter, dedicated entirely to our dear Rolf and his own sense of guilt. I am rather sad to inform you that there are only four more chapters left to this story! I can't believe it! I'm getting tears now... but let's not hasten... we've still got four more to go:) Expect fast updates from now on, because I really don't want to keep you guys waiting!!!! And also expect a new video soon! Love, Roe!
Chapter 22: Always on my mind
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“Are you coming Luna?” said Charlie, as he was finishing up the breakfast that the sisters had cooked for their guests. Luna gazed up from the book she was reading and smiled at the red-headed, freckled young man who stood astir, just a couple of feet away from her.
“Sure,” she replied and then closed the book and placed it on the table. Sister Ana glanced at her and smiled. She murmured something to Charlie which Luna could not understand because she did not speak Romanian, but as far as she could tell by the look on Charlie’s face, it was something good.
The convent where all the members of Charlie’s research team were hosted was very beautiful indeed, quite old some might say, but very much charming with its medieval architecture, beautiful windows made of stained glass and majestic lancets marking the entrances to every room. The door that separated the kitchens from the inner yard was impressive and preserved the same old aspect as did all the rooms and particularly the main building of the convent. The sisters, as Charlie had informed Luna upon her arrival at the station, had absolutely no idea what the team did and that they were all wizards.
Their cover – a group of students from England who had come to Romania to study the local fauna – had proven to be quite good up to that point, as neither of the sisters had discovered that the wildlife they were doing researches on was far from being regular. They were very nice women who offered them good food and a nice cosy bed to sleep in and did not ask much, which needless to say was essential to people like Charlie and the many young men and women who had joined him over the years.
Luna had left England for a week and despite the excitement that the many excursions throughout Transylvania brought along, she couldn’t help feeling home-sick. Surely, Romania was wonderful with the endless expansion of green and the lazy braes of the hills, but it did not make up for the land where she had been born. She missed the whimsical weather, the green fields of her home town, the soft breeze coming from the ocean… but what she missed most was perhaps, Rolf. She hadn’t seen him in a whole week, which was so odd for her since she used to spend every minute of every day in his company. She needed his voice, his soothing words to wake her up in the morning, the green eyes that sparkled like emeralds in the silver light of a jealous moon and the sensation of wetness in his hair after a carefree walk in the rain.
She missed him more than she ever thought she would, yet the stoicism not to fall back on her promise had kept her strong all throughout this week when barely waking up had seemed too hard without the shape of his body resting next to her, between the sheets. Luna had often dreamed of him, mostly blurry and dark flashbacks of their lives: his tender smile, her raging giggle as he told a joke, the watercolours that he often bought from Johnson & Sons and the way his skin smelled like kiwi from Africa. Sometimes, when she was all by herself, in the small simple room that she was not allowed to decorate to her liking, she would remember such silly things that merely thinking of them would make her at least, smile – a frail smile that is, for it could never be done properly. Not since Rolf had broken her heart, anyway.
Charlie opened the door for her, but she did not look at him. She did not thank him and instead pursued further, to the round inner court of the convent. The main building seemed to seal the small space that hosted a fountain, quite similar to the one that the Scamanders had. This one though, had no angels to pour water from their tiny marble vessels. The murmur of the water reminded her of that day when she and Rolf had first kissed, but Charlie’s cough managed to prevent her from venturing into such a tempting, yet most dangerous recollection that would have certainly brought her on the brink of madness yet again.
They walked together towards the exit door that did not only set a border between the intimate space of the Romanian convent and the outer forest that hosted dragons – unbeknownst to the sisters and the priests – but also a boundary between Luna’s inner faithful cogitation and the world that did not understand her pain and not even who she was, for that matter. She knew that once she would step over the old faded-with-time threshold, her feelings, her worries and mostly her memories would come back to her… would come back to torture her. Being with the others members of the team all day long, comparing diagrams of Dragon’s breeding or migration and making random assumptions about the wildlife they were researching, was proving quite time-consuming for Luna.
She had no time to think of Rolf, of her disappointment and instead would focus on whatever the group talked. It was only at night – or in the random trips they took – that Luna finally allowed her mind to wander again to the man she had left behind.
That night, when she had sought shelter at Harry’s and Ginny’s, she had believed that healing would come easily, that if provided with a good distraction, she would gradually start forgetting until not even a feeble memory would be left of Rolf Scamander. Now she knew that she had been wrong – just like she had been about him. Healing would not come easily because she loved Rolf more than anything in this world and even if she no longer saw him in flesh and blood, he was as present to Luna as if he were standing there beside her. She thought of him, she remembered him with every single detail in its rightful place – like the mole on his neck or the passion burning in his iris – and she knew that obliteration may just as well feel as bearable as a Cruciatus.
She knew she would not forget him ever… She saw herself thirty years from now – in a rocking chair on the stoop of a nice house, facing the ocean with a lighthouse fading somewhere in the distance – and she would still think of him, even if by that time, the days and the years would have dripped without ceasing. She would still remember his flattering words, the way he seemed to understand her and even that joy glistening in his eyes as she spoke his name. Rolf would be there, in her heart; he would be a part of her like he always had been – a painful one indeed, but still definitive for her identity. Then, she would still ask her conscience how it would have felt like if Rolf had proven to be the man she had sought as a young woman. But the answer would be painful, as painful as the sequence of days and night that had gone by so lethargically for her since she had arrived in Romania.
Charlie began humming a song, but she did not accompany his cheerful tune afraid that she might contaminate it with her sadness and melancholy. He watched her silently; he did not make any gesture to initiate a conversation knowing perfectly well that she would not reply, no matter how fiercely he would try to get a word out of her. Luna had seldom spoken since he had welcomed her to his site and Charlie – given his experience – understood that her silence was due to a disappointment that words could not explain. He would often contemplate her sadness at dinner, when all the team would gather. He would sit across the table from her and he would analyze the sick manner in which she fidgeted with the fork, not being able to engulf anything without feeling the urge to vomit.
She had lost weight – thought nothing essential and obvious for a rude observer – and the sparkle in her blue eyes had faded long, or so it seemed to Charlie – who had met Luna several times prior to her coming to Romania. He had seen her fighting at Hogwarts that night when Voldemort had been vanquished and the fire burning then in the depth of blue did not seem compatible with the dullness and the apathy reflected in it, now. He somehow knew that she was like that because of that young man she had brought along at Ginny’s wedding. Yet it seemed so unbelievable – Luna Lovegood broken hearted – it was not her.
“Did you see it too?” asked Luna as they both headed for a nearby glade, from where Luna could hear the roaring of what she knew to be a Romanian Longhorn.
“See what…?” Charlie questioned, slightly relieved that she had finally decided to break the silence.
“That Rolf and I were not right for each other…” she replied, the tone of her voice betraying a certain bitterness that Charlie did not wish to accentuate with his response.
“I’m hardly the person to judge whether you and Rolf were a match… I think you’re the only one who can make a call on that matter. It’s an issue of subjectivism after all… what seems appropriate to me, may sound completely awkward to you and vice-versa,” Charlie settled.
“Charlie, what makes people right for each other?” He gazed at her, slightly confused. “What makes a good match for you?”
“I guess it’s all about being able to talk to your partner… where there are words left unsaid, there will be hearts that can’t be mended. It’s a matter of being capable of carrying out a conversation with depth without making it seem strenuous. So, in my opinion, people who can talk – and I’m not referring to the mere act of conversing – are those that are suited to each other. Now, the question is, did you and Rolf talked…like really talked? And did you understand each other’s feelings?”
Luna pondered for a while. She stopped walking, Charlie stopped as well. The flow of her thoughts threatened to overwhelm her. She wringed her hands but did not make a sound that could have betrayed her confusion.
“I don’t think he ever talked to me…” she replied exactly when Charlie believed that his question would be left unanswered. “I mean, he told me things about him, about his life… but I never knew more but the basics. He could never reply with the same honesty…”
“Then you have nothing to feel sorry for…” Charlie spoke while inviting her to walk further. “You kept your part of the deal. It’s Rolf who couldn’t… I do not presume that this should ail the pain, but I can assure you that it gets better in time.”
“Does it?” she murmured, but Charlie did not reply. He knew that it would.
Rolf could not sleep. He kept tossing about in his bed, trying to find a position remotely comfortable but at that point it was obvious that it was not the lack of space that disturbed his peace, but the abundance of it. It was bad. He had never imagined that losing Luna would prove to be such an ordeal: he couldn’t eat, talk, sleep, and think… all he did was paint. It had been more or less a week since he had last gone outside, despite his grandmother’s reprimands. If he was in need of fresh air, he would just open the window, but he would not leave the canvas. He had to stay there and paint until his hands hurt, his back felt stiff and his eyes could not render an appropriate perception of his surroundings. It was his sort of atonement, for the lies, for his deeds, for his fright and mostly for those three words that he had never said.
Perhaps there were more than just the three words that he had left unsaid. There were the feelings that he had never expressed openly… he had not smiled enough while in her presence, he had not held her tighter to his chest when she had been between his arms, he had not kissed her enough… and he would never get to do that again. He felt lonely, lonelier than he had ever been, though it seemed that lately he was not deprived of guests. His family had often come by the house to check on his grandfather, whose condition was certainly not getting better. But it was in his heart that he truly felt alone, for it was empty and cold and he didn’t have the warmth of her body to die the coldness away. He felt older – ten years at the least – and his appearance only emphasized the dramatic change that he had been through both physically and emotionally.
His hand reached for his wand whose tip he ignited as soon as he grabbed it from the night stand. It was midnight, or so indicated the grandfather clock on the wall, though lately time did not seem such a big deal to him. He tried to remember how the day had gone by – slowly, surely. If for that clock there and the day marked in the calendar, he would have thought that it had been years since Luna had left. In fact it was just a week, or something closer to it.
He heard someone laughing – it was so familiar – and on a second thought he realized it had been just a distant memory flashing through his tired mind. The sleepless nights must have made him delusional.
He was losing it – of that there was no doubt – but it seemed almost appropriate at that time. He glanced at the cup of coffee resting on the desk near the tripod and sighed. He had drunk too much over the past week; not even Igor, who had always been fond of him, wanted to provide it to him anymore. He was right though. It made him sick as everything seemed to do lately, including himself. Even looking into the mirror brought him nausea nowadays.
The letter she had written was still in the very place she had left it. He had read it so many times that the edges had started peeling and the envelope seemed to be falling apart any minute. He knew it by heart, but he always read it, albeit having memorised every of her words. He needed to see her hand writing, to see the elegant manner in which she dotted her “Is” and to feel the surface that her fingers had last touched. He knew it meant nothing, that reading the letter over and over again would not bring her back… but somehow it made him feel connected to her. She had written that page, had filled it with her awkward yet charming jotting.
But that letter could hardly match the power of the diaries that she had left behind – a minor slip on her behalf. He had found the notebooks just the day after her departure and ever since he had not been able to part with them. He had read her thoughts, her dreams and hopes… and now he felt like he knew her better than he had ever allowed himself to know her.
“Today my mother died” – that was how her diaries debuted and that simple, yet powerful sentence seemingly had sealed his understanding of the woman he now knew he loved. There was something occult in those four words, something that a rude observer would not be able to decipher, yet Rolf understood that Luna was who she was because of them. After reading the first chapter of her very first diary, he had not been able to talk for a whole day, making his grandmother truly worried.
He had almost felt catatonic, with no desire to move, to speak, to think… he had just stayed in his bed, staring at the odd writing of a child who saw the world through the eyes of an adult. “I am sad, very sad sometimes, even though it’s been quite a while since she died but the thought that one day I’ll see her again, sooths me in a way not even Daddy’s words can” she had written later, regarding the mixed feelings she still had about her mother dying at which point Rolf could not control his tears anymore. He had been strong for so long, but without her he gave up… he could not keep up the appearances anymore, he could not pretend and surely he could no longer go back to what he had once been.
He felt guilty for he had stained the purest of souls, out of mere vanity. He had been too proud to tell her the things that needed to be said and now he was paying the price of his silence. Luna was gone – somewhere so far away from him – and along with her, a part of him had left too. Rolf knew that despite what she had said in her letter, it had not been she who had lived with a blindfold over the eyes, but he. He had been blinded by his huge ego; by his inner fear; by the cheap-talk of Zabini… she had slipped through his fingers like sand because he had allowed it to happen.
“Nox,” he muttered angrily and the tiny spark at the tip of his wand was put out in an instant. He lifted from his bed with the same drowsiness as if he were an elder and steadily walked over to the window to let some fresh air inside. He pulled the white curtains aside and allowed the salty smell of the sea to protrude his nostrils. The moon sparkled on a spotless sky but Rolf merely contemplated its reflection in the water.
He turned around to take a look at the canvas. The pale light coming from the sky beautifully emphasized the rocky coast of Dorset and the figure of a woman who stood on a cliff, contemplating a scarf that flew farther and farther from her. Her hands rested next to her body as if she had let it slip away from her on purpose. She had long blond hair, pale skin and wore a green dress. She was barefoot. There was a house in the background and albeit darker, Rolf could make out the shape of a young man watching the odd display from his room, confined by the curtains that framed the window.
He didn’t understand why he had not painted this scene before… perhaps because he had been afraid to admit its importance. He had been afraid of everything… of her smile, of her hugs, of her eyes but most importantly, of her love. He had pushed her aside because he had been a bloody coward and nothing more. Ron and the guys had been right to hate him; he did not deserve Luna, he never had and he would never do. Perhaps it was true that there’s always someone who loves more in a relationship, but surely for every of these cases, there is always someone who doesn’t deserve the love he’s being offered with. Fate had it for that person to be Rolf.
He glanced around and noticed that his room had become some sort of an art gallery; paintings were placed all over the walls and some of them were even resting on the floor because there was no room for them to be hanged anymore. They hypnotized him…maybe not the paintings themselves, not even the colours he had used – as contrasting as some of them were – but the pair of shimmering blue eyes that always sparkled from the pit of a blonde woman who fancied radish-like earrings. She had a small nose, rosy lips and flowers in her hair. Occasionally she ate red apples or wore flower patterned dresses. Sometimes she smiled, sometimes she was melancholic but the constant features of her face were the dreamy eyes. He could have blurred her whole face, making her unrecognizable at some point, but the eyes – he would always let them intact.
He sat down on the cold parquetry, facing her portrait – one of the many. He stared at her for what seemed like hours but the pain did not go away. She still appeared to be looking at him reproachfully and every time he would dare to lose himself into the blue abyss he would remember her words “I can only hope that my silence will do…” She had been right; her silence had made up. It was her absence that made him understand just how requisite she was to him.
His finger reached out for the mane of blond painted hair. He felt the harsh surface of the canvas that resembled in nothing with the softness of Luna’s strands. He missed her so much… He remembered her shivering lips. The sound that her feet produced when she walked. The way they touched in their sleep. He closed his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Luna…” he whispered but there was no one there to listen. He was all alone.
AN Sorry guys for making you wait, but at first I had some issues with my internet and then school started and bla bla you know:) Real life! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little filler... the last three chapters will be packed with action so I left this little break in between so to speak:) Hugs, Roe.
Chapter 23: My life is Grey if You are not in It
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The corridor was dimly lit and it seemed to Rolf as a bad omen, almost foretelling the events that were about to unfold. He walked along the hallway, barely being able to see a couple of feet before him and it was then that it struck him the cruel and painful knowledge that he had pushed aside from his mind all this time. His grandfather was dying. He had been ill for a couple of months now and his health condition seemed to have aggrieved in the past weeks so badly that he was not able to walk anymore and spent most of his time locked between the four walls of his room, in bed.
Rolf had seldom come to see him as he did not wish to acknowledge the obvious. He did not want to see the great Newt Scamander in his bed, without any strength and unable to even talk properly. All his childhood, Rolf had lived up to the iconic naturalist, had seen him with an aura of God and never had he believed that one day his grandfather – just like the rest of the people – would die. Yet today he was seeing that for the first time in his life.
He had been unable to admit to himself that even people like Newt Scamander – with their strength, bravery and extensive knowledge – could actually perish with such easiness and lack of honours. His grandfather deserved a better death, one that would remember people of his great deeds, of his charisma and, what was more important, of his astuteness. He should have died in an Amazonian forest fighting some particular dangerous creature or somewhere in the depths of the Indian Ocean after a discussion with the merchief would go badly wrong.
But no, Newt Scamander would not die in his full glory… he would be in his bed, in his house on the Dorset shore while he and his family would stay at his bedside. Rolf felt guilty for he now understood why his grandfather had never gone to an expedition for years in a row. It was his fault, because ever since he had stupidly decided that “being a naturalist was not to his liking” his grandfather had lost his interest in travelling and studying new creatures. Why would he have done that again if he had no one whom to initiate? There was no one eager to carry on the art of mazigology.
It was because of him that Newt Scamander would not die of a brave death, like he had deserved and that mere thought crushed him more than the knowledge that today he would lose the only man who had ever believed in him. He felt like he was losing a father and not his grandfather. He now saw just how much the old man meant to him, just how requisite he had been all this time. He had been so wrong about everything and every day he was paying the price for his ignorance. Luna had left him, his grandfather was dying and soon everyone who had ever meant something to him would desert him, because he sure deserved to be left all alone.
Rolf knew that he was the only one who should have died that night, yet he was as healthy as he had always been. His mind was not doing so well, as he was worn out by his own sense of guilt and remorse, but his physique – despite having lost some weight – was alright. Life was unfair and he was barely starting to learn this, just like his Luna had. How he missed her still, even though there had been more than a month since she had packed her things, leaving behind just a letter and a golden coin. He wondered what she was doing now, was she alright? Did she think of him? Did it hurt her just as it hurt him? Had she forgotten all about him already?
How many times he had asked himself those very questions and every time the answer had been as blurry as his own sight after having spent all night painting. He could not see hope in all the darkness that surrounded him and as he sat in front of his grandparents’ room – feeling unable to open the door – he thought that his life was no more worth than that of a bug. He felt like a cockroach and he knew he would not get rid of that sensation for a long time.
He finally knocked on the door and as soon as he heard his grandmother’s voice inside, he opened it and entered. The room preserved the same darkness that seemed to have taken over the whole house, along with its habitants. Porpentina was sitting on a chair next to the bed, while the three kneazles were silently watching her every move from their cosy baskets. They too could feel that something was wrong; Hoppy particularly, looked like he was not taking his master’s incoming death so easily. He, just like Rolf, had been a favourite of the old naturalist and the affection had always been mutual, despite the apparent easy-going nature of the cat.
Mrs. Scamander smiled as she noticed her grandson standing in the doorway, but as refreshing as the curling of lips might have once been, it no longer bestowed tranquillity to Rolf. She smiled because she had no other grimace left to express her grief and the pain of being on the verge of losing the man with whom she had been married for more years than she could count. She had cried, she had been bitter, she had felt anger and frustration, then she had gone through a long state of depression… smiling was all that she had been left with.
Rolf approached her and kissed her forehead, in the same manner that she had done it for him as a child. Mr. Scamander opened his eyes and allowed a grin to appear on the corner of his mouth, as weak as it was. Rolf conjured a chair for himself and sat on the other side of the bed. He grabbed his grandfather’s white hand from the bed and suddenly felt just how cold it was. The old man – who seemed to have grown older in the past weeks than he had in a lifetime – fixed his grandson, looking straight into the green eyes that he had once loved about a woman he had called wife for so long. He was the spitting image of her – the same eyes, the same lips and, certainly, the good looks were from her side as well… He remembered Rolf as a child – such a presence, such curiosity and he had that certain hunger for knowledge that, despite all evidence, had never left him.
Rolf smiled as he noticed the stare on his grandfather’s worn-out face. He hardly resembled the man that he had idolised as a child, but there was something about the warmth reflecting in his eyes that made the young man recognize him.
“Rolf, you came,” Mr. Scamander said, his voice betraying the weakness in his throat.
“Of course I did, grandpa…” Rolf tried to sooth him. “I’ll always be here when you need me, when you call for me…”
Porpentina started crying but Newt did not seek to comfort her, as he always did when she would collapse. Instead he smiled and continued to look at his grandson with the same pride as before.
“Do you remember when you destroyed your grandmother’s garden, trying to de-gnome it?” the old man asked to which Rolf sniggered.
“I was five, wasn’t I?” he replied. Porpentina nodded and she too allowed a grin to appear on her tormented face. “Grandma reprimanded me all day long for having ruined the gardenias and the roses. She had been so fond of some flowers and I had killed them, merciless. What I did not know at that time was that we had no gnomes in the gardens…”
“Did you punish him Poppy? I can’t remember exactly…”
“Of course she did,” Rolf answered before his grandmother would burst again into fits of crying. “She made me write I will never de-gnome grandma’s garden ever again for hundreds of times. And she cried all week long, attempting to make me feel bad about myself.”
“Needless to say that I failed miserably…” Poppy added to which Mr. Scamander smiled.
“My favourite mischief of Rolf’s though, must be that time when he painted Miller purple…”
Rolf laughed and then eyed the kneazle who still, after all this time, refused to allow him to pat him. He held a grudge even if years had gone by and the purple dye had long faded in his fur.
“Miller was my very first work of art!” Rolf defended.
“You are so talented.” said Newt. “You know…I went to see your works. They’re wonderful, really. I always knew you had a knack for painting.”
“Thanks,” Rolf murmured. “But I’m no good… I can only paint her,” he went on talking, afraid to mention her name.
“She left,” his grandfather spoke to which Rolf sighed. “Why don’t you go looking for her? She loves you…I could tell that from the very day she laid her eyes on you…”
“I’m not leaving you Grandpa… You have to get better. My life can be put on hold for a while and I’m sure that Luna will understand it if the time should come for us to meet again. But I’m staying here for now…”
“I’m dying, Rolf…” Mr. Scamander whispered.
“Nonsense,” said Rolf, but his voice did not convey any certainty. “You’re going to live long; you’ll even get to meet your great-grandsons… My children…”
“Rolf, listen to me carefully… There’s no need to lie to ourselves anymore. We all know that tonight is my final night on this earth. I just want you to know that I love you and that I’ll always be with you…” he spoke and Rolf began panicking, crystal tears rolling down on his cheeks. “You were always my favourite grandson because you were such a wonderful and smart child. Today, you’re the man I wanted you to become, regardless of the different path you chose to pursue. I’m so proud of you…”
“I’m so sorry, Grandpa!” Rolf cried out. “I’m sorry because I’ve been such a fool. I pretended to dismiss the choices that you were trying to direct me to, because I wanted to be different from my family. But I’m not… I’m just like you! I love animals and I want to spend my life doing what you did… I was blind – I did not see the things that mattered in my life. I lost Luna and now you’re dying… It’s my fault!”
“No it’s not… at least, not in my case. I have been sick for a very long time, Rolf and I had almost lost any hope until last summer when you moved in with us. You have made my life so beautiful from the very minute you were born…” he paused. “Promise me, Rolf… promise me that you’ll go and find Luna and you’ll get her back in your life. Don’t let her slide from you… Promise me you’re going to be happy…”
“You have my word," Rolf said bitterly.
Mr. Scamander closed his eyes, a big smile still etched on his face and then he moved no more. Newt Scamander had died.
Rolf was determined to keep his promise to his grandfather. He thought of his last words, as he sat on the edge of the grave, looking down at the coffin that was slowly being covered by brown dust. The funeral had passed so slowly, every of his grandmother’s sobs appearing more painful to Rolf with every minute. She had cried and so had Rolf. The grave was sealed but Rolf could not find the strength to leave, even though he was now all by himself.
All those who had attended the service had gone into the house. He watched the golden plait that bore the name of his grandfather, etched in an elegant writing that did not resemble with the doodling of the naturalist. He felt alone, more alone than ever, despite the many relatives that waited inside to speak to him. He knew that the only one in his family who had ever believed in him was the grandfather whose body now lay buried beneath the ground of their domain.
He then gazed up at the immensity of the sea stretching before him and he felt so tiny in a world that burdened his shoulders. He remembered Luna: her sparkling eyes fixing the horizon line with such avidity that it appeared to Rolf that she would engulf the world with just one look. She was fun to be around because she said things that people would not say on a regular basis. She used to wear flowery dresses and flat shoes. She did her own jewellery and fancied funny coloured nail polish.
His life was grey if she was not in it.
It was now that Rolf clearly realized that Luna was the only woman who could have ever made him truly happy. She was the only one for him and regardless of the circumstances he would go looking for her. He had no idea where to start… all he had was her home address but he doubted she would seek shelter at her father’s house. Xenophilius Lovegood was on a trip, had been on various ever since his only daughter had left for Dorset. She would not live alone… Maybe she had gone at Harry’s, Rolf reckoned as he walked over to the house, his hands tucked in the pockets of his jeans. Ginny and Harry no longer lived at the Burrow, they had got a house of their own whose precise location, Rolf did not know. All he knew was that it was somewhere in London. But London was so big…
And then, it struck him. Neville Longbottom was teacher at Hogwarts and given his friendship with Harry, he must know where the Potters currently lived. He would go to Hogwarts and find Neville – who being the nice guy he always was would tell him all he needed to know. He ran back to the house, opened the front door and went straight upstairs without even bothering to check the dining room where his family probably ate.
He reached his room in a heart beat, took a backpack from beneath his bed and started packing some things that he thought necessary for his trip. When he had placed all the items in his rucksack he went back to the ground floor and seized the many rooms, looking for a house elf. When he failed to spot any – they must have all been busy attending the family – he got a piece of paper from the office and wrote a note to his grandmother, saying that he had gone to seek happiness – like his grandfather would have wanted him to.
He placed the note on the mirror facing the entry door and then emerged outside, in his quest for happiness. He would find Luna and he would tell her all the things he had never said. And she would forgive him and then they would live happy, together, without anyone interfering in their lives.
He apparated to Hogsmeade knowing that it was impossible to do so in Hogwarts – the school where Luna had lived half of her life… Rolf walked over to the kissing gate, pushed it wide open and then entered the domain without giving it a second thought. The building appeared genuinely impressive from where he stood now. His grandfather had once taken him to Hogsmeade as a child but they had never entered the school, not Rolf at least. It seemed that the classes were over and all the students – wearing their house uniforms – were gathered on the lawn to enjoy the nice sun of June. Soon, the school would end. Some of them were clutching big old tomes that they must have borrowed from the impressive library. They were fifth years or seventh years, probably preparing for their OWLs and NEWTs.
Rolf was a bit confused about where he could find Neville and decided that the best thing to do was to ask a Prefect. Luckily one of the Prefects was Dennis Creevey, whom he had met at Ginny’s wedding in September.
“Hi Dennis!” Rolf spoke upon meeting the boy who now wore a ‘P’ badge on his chest.
“Oh, Rolf right?” he replied. “We met at Ginny’s wedding, didn’t we? You’re Luna’s boyfriend. How is she?”
“Fine…” said Rolf rather abashed by his ability to lie. “Dennis, I need your help…”
“Sure, anything… Name it!”
“I need to find Neville Longbottom. I hear he is a teacher of Herbology here…”
“Yes, of course he is. Apprentice-teacher, actually... I’m the only one in the school who can call him Neville and not Professor Longbottom,” Dennis bragged. “You know… the whole Dumbledore’s Army thing during the war…”
“Right,” Rolf mumbled. “Now can you tell me where I can find him?”
“Ah, sure… There!” he said while point at the Greenhouses. “You’ll find him there all day long. We’ve got a new sprout of Mandrakes that need to be taken care of and as you might...”
Rolf did not let Dennis finish his sentence as he shook his hand in a hurry and then left for the Greenhouses. He reached a door saying Greenhouse nr. 10 and upon hearing Neville mumbling something from behind, he barged into.
“Rolf!” Neville shouted. “You gave me quite a scare!”
“Sorry…” he apologized. “I didn’t mean to scare you. How are you?”
“Oh, fine,” said Neville while shaking hands with Rolf. “Breeding Mandrakes has never been an easy job. It requires patience.” There was a moment of silence in which neither of them knew what to say. Obviously, Neville knew what had happened with Luna and Rolf knew that he knew. “I hear that you and Luna are no longer together…”
“Yeah…” Rolf spoke bitterly.
“And that your grandfather died. I read it in the Prophet, yesterday. I’m sorry about that…”
“Me too,” he replied. “I need you to tell me something, Neville. I want you to tell me the truth…”
“Sure…but if you’ve come for Luna’s whereabouts I’m afraid I can’t help you. I don’t know where she is.”
“No…I actually need Harry’s address. He might be able to help me find Luna.”
“I doubt they will… especially Ginny. She is not that pleased with what happened. Nevertheless, I’ll give it to you. Let me take a piece of paper,” he paused while looking for a quill and a piece of parchment and after finding them, he started doodling something. “It’s number 12, Grimmauld Place, London. You should be able to see the house as you are a wizard…the street is at a twenty minute’s walk from King’s Cross so you should find it easily.”
“Thank you, Neville…” Rolf said while grabbing the piece of parchment and stuffing it into his pocket. “You have no idea how much this means to me…”
“Well, make sure that this time you’ll do whatever it takes to make Luna happy.”
“I will, I promise…” he said and upon shaking hands again with Neville, he left.
The atmosphere outside appeared much more welcoming to Rolf, now that he had a lead towards finding Luna. Neville had been more than useful and had behaved quite well, which was not to be expected from the Potters. Ginny, particularly, would not receive him with her arms opened wide and for a good reason. He had hurt her best friend and an innocent girl who had fallen in love with a man who had not deserved her. But now, he would do everything in his power to get to deserve a woman like Luna. He loved her and he would not let her go away, ever again.
He walked over to the kissing gate, where he could safely apparate to London’s King’s Cross and then walk the twenty minute’s distance to Ginny’s and Harry’s house. There was swish sound from between the bushes and Rolf suddenly felt the need to find out the source of that sound. He entered the forest, walked along the dirty path that bore signs of hooves on it and as he reached a glade he noticed a pack of big winged horses with white eyes and bodies resembling skeletons. They were quite many and some of them even had babies, which did not look cute at all with their dragonish faces and neck and creepy eyes. Rolf now knew what they were.
They were Thestrals – Luna’s favourite beasts in the whole world.
He had never seen them because he had never seen anyone dying before. He now had. Rolf had sat with his grandfather when the latter had closed his eyes and surrendered to death. He understood now, as he sat a couple of feet away from them, what Luna had said about the way the Thestrals made her feel. He remembered his grandfather, all those moments when they had had so much fun, the wisdom that he had shared with his young grandchild and the last words that had left his mouth.
He realized that Luna might have sat in the exact place for so many times during her school years. She had come here to remember her mother and all those people whom she had lost along the war and whom she dearly missed every day. Today my mother died she had written in her diary. Those very words never seem to leave his mind now.
“Yesterday, my grandfather died,” he whispered, knowing that the Thestrals could hear him. “Luna left me… I hurt her… but I’ll make it up to her again. It’s all going to be fine. I’m going to find her…” he kept repeating like a mantra, remembering what his grandfather had once told him: if one thinks arduously of something, it will happen.
I see them because I remember she had said about Thestrals and albeit not having understood what she had meant at that time, he now believed she had been right all along.
“They remind me of you,” he whispered to the memory of Luna that always haunted his dreams. “Because I love you…”
AN Hello! Well this is the 23rd chapter, only 2 left my dear readers. I'm so touched by the past reviews that I felt compelled to update this faster than the usual. I can't believe how little we've got left of Luna and Rolf... I'm going to miss them very much. Will you?:D Hugs, Roe!
Chapter 24: Rolf's Predicament
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Rolf was walking down a street he had never seen before, somewhere near King’s Cross as Neville had instructed him, which was as far as his knowledge went. He counted the streets he had been through in his mind and after a short recollection he did the maths and realized he had walked over five alleys so far and still there was no sign of a Grimmauld Place. He was not sure whether Grimmauld Place was a street, a park or a square. Or perhaps it was just a building. He took the piece of parchment from his pocket – the one that Neville had given him – and read again the little doodling. There it said, black on white: 12, Grimmauld Place.
Determined not to lose any more precious time that he could have spent to get to Luna, he decided to ask for directions to the first person he’d come across. The hours were not late, perhaps eight judging by the upcoming darkness, so he should be able to ask for some sort of information, regarding this place, building or whatever it was for that matter. After some other minutes of wandering along Camley Street, he found a shop opened and decided to ask there. He entered the little muggle shop and headed straight for the counter where a nice tall woman was doing some paper work.
“Good evening,” he spoke politely to which the woman nodded.
“How may I help you?” she replied.
“I need you to tell me where this address is… and do you happen to know if it’s a street or a square?”
“Grimmauld Place… I happen to live there, Sir. It’s a square but also a street; this paper is not right. There’s no nr 12 there, it’s just nr 13 and 11.”
“Oh right,” he said rather intrigued. “And is it far from here?”
“No,” the shop assistant answered. “You just walk all the way to the front and then turn left on Chenney Road. At the end of it you’ll find Grimmauld Place.”
“Thank you very much.”
He emerged from the shop and followed the instructions he had been given. He now understood what Neville had referred to when he had said that as wizard he would be able to see the house. It was most probably Unplottable so that the muggles would not see it. He walked on Chenney Road with his mind filled with doubts and questions for himself. What should he tell Ginny? How would Harry react? Will they tell him where Luna was? He thought then that he should tell them the truth, how he had been a fool, how he had played Luna when all this time he had loved her more than anything. He would tell them that he can’t live without her, that she’s the only one whose smile can make him happy and that he’s determined to do everything in his power to restore all she’s lost.
He would speak about his fears, about his own loss and how he never wants to wake up without his Luna. He would tell all about the feelings he’s been trough all these months and maybe they would understand and would help him find the woman he’s destined to be with. Rolf knew that Ginny was Luna’s best friend and that Harry thought very highly of her, so the natural would be that they wanted her to be happy. But she had been everything but happy by his side. Happiness did not equal to lie in Luna’s world or in his for that matter. But somehow, he had managed to hurt her, to wrap her in a ‘good lie’ – like she had called it in the letter – and he had never realized that with it, he had hurt himself too.
Rolf felt like this whole hunt for Luna would change his life forever. If she would forgive him, he would become a better man and his existence would turn for the good. But if she didn’t, then perhaps there were no reasons to believe that he would ever be happy. Of course, he would seek his own destiny and live according to his own better judgement but without Luna, nothing seemed to bring laughs in his life. He was empty if his heart did not beat harder every time he would catch a glimpse of that blond hair or of those big bulging blue eyes.
He had just reached the end of the said street when his eyes gazed further at a square that might as well have been the one he had been looking for.
He began walking faster and stealing fugitive glances at the numbers written on the houses.
“Nr. 9, 10, 11…” he panted. He looked up between nr 11 and 13. Indeed, just like the shop assistant had told him, nr 12 did not exist. But what that muggle woman did not know at that time, was that Rolf was a wizard and therefore was granted access to the protected house. He took his wand upon making sure that no one was around and waved it a couple of times in the air hoping that the house would reveal itself.
After some failed attempts the buildings moved aside and in the middle appeared the ‘missing’ nr 12, with its impressive large window and wrought iron balconies. The massive door seemed to be very old but despite its age, it stood perfectly still and preserved the same luxurious appearance like the rest of the house imposed.
Rolf went on the sequence of steps leading to the front door and as soon as he reached the top, he picked the knocker and banged it a couple of times. He waited in silence for a couple of minutes and then the door swung open revealing a red-haired woman wearing a house wrapper.
“You idiot!” she shouted and plunged forward, her hands gripping his neck, thus obstructing his breathing. Rolf landed on his back, with Ginny crushing over him, all this time feeling her fists hitting his chest and other body parts, which hurt quite a bit.
“You loathsome creature… You liar and…” she kept shouting while throwing punches everywhere her eyes fitted better. Rolf could not even open his eyes, but he did not defend himself. He had earned this and so much more than Ginny could have done. “What did you think? That she can’t defend herself? That she can be easily fooled…? Well she’s got friends idiot!!!”
“Ginny, please,” Rolf mumbled but she wouldn’t hear. “I’ve come for…”
She slapped him a couple of times in a ferocious attack of hatred and then plunged his back against the ground even fiercer than before.
“You’ve come to do what?” she asked angrily but Rolf could not answer due to the piece of clothing that she had unintentionally stuffed his mouth with. “She is good and kind she… Ughhh!” she shouted again and launched another set of fists and punches at him.
“Ginny…” a voice came from behind and at that point she instantly calmed down. It was Harry, who was standing in the doorway with Teddy in his arms. The little boy seemed to have enjoyed the row between his godmother and Rolf, as he was broad grinning and his hair had instantly turned a green tone. She lifted from Rolf and then headed to the house. Harry handed her the boy and gestured her to go inside, despite her protest. She shot one last glare at Rolf – who was barely managing to lift from the ground – and disappeared into the house with Teddy. Harry, however, was still standing in the doorway with crossed arms and a not so very welcoming look upon his face.
“Good evening, Rolf,” he spoke coldly.
“Hi, Harry,” Rolf replied while dusting his clothes off and marching towards the place where Harry stood.
“Why have you come here? But, firstly, how did you find us?”
“Neville gave me the address. I went to see him at Hogwarts,” Rolf admitted, bowing his head as he did not feel able to look Harry in the eye. He was ashamed because these people had probably been the only ones who had trusted him. He had never seen Harry glaring at him while at the wedding, not even Ginny who was perhaps the fiercer of all. And he had cheated not only on Luna, but also on them.
“As for the reason why I came here… I was hoping you’d welcome me inside. There are quite a few things I need to lay off my chest. But if you don’t want to, then…we can just sit here and talk…”
“No, inside is fine…” Harry said and then gestured Rolf to step up into the house.
The door creaked behind them, as Harry closed it and as soon as Rolf entered he could tell that indeed this house was impressive and perhaps quite expensive. It was nicely decorated, the walls were painted in pastel colours and all the vases were stuffed with all sorts of vivid flowers. There were a couple of paintings on the wall, some of them new and others quite old.
In the middle of the wall facing the entrance door there was a huge mirror in which Rolf spotted his figure and that of Harry, walking along the long hallway.
“You have a wonderful house, Harry.” Rolf spoken, quite abashed by the dense silence between them.
“Thanks,” Harry replied. “Sirius left it to me after he died. That portrait over there,” he said as he pointed towards the wall overseeing the grand staircase, “that’s him, Sirius Black.”
“I didn’t know you were related to the Blacks.” Rolf mumbled.
“I’m not related by blood with the family. Sirius was just… my godfather. If it’s ok with you, we can talk in the kitchen.”
“Sure,” he said and then descended the stairs leading to the basement, as Harry had indicated.
The kitchen was large, had the appearance of a cavern but nevertheless, on the whole it was really warm and pleasant. Ginny was sitting at the table, enjoying some ice cream while little Teddy was being fed by a scrawny-looking and old house elf. Ginny glanced up and at the sight of Rolf, she frowned.
“Kreacher,” Harry said to which the house elf lifted his gaze at his Master.
“Yes, Master Harry,” he spoke fondly. “What can Kreacher do for the Master?”
“Take Teddy to his room. Put him to bed and read him a story; Ginny and I will not be able to do that tonight…” Harry instructed and Kreacher smiled.
“Of course, Master Harry,” he chanted. He picked up Teddy from his baby seat and guided him to the door, holding tightly to the boy’s hand. “Kreacher will tell the little master a bed time story. Does the little master want to know how Harry Potter and his brave friends defeated the Dark Lord…?”
The boy giggled and together they went up on the stairs.
The room was suddenly bathed in silence, occasionally broken by the boiling kettle on the gas cooker or the sound of chairs being pushed aside. Rolf took a seat at the table, Harry and Ginny facing him.
“So…” Harry spoke. “What brings you here?”
“I don’t even know how to begin…”
“Well the beginning sounds like a good option,” Ginny mumbled angrily. Harry shot her a glance and she fell silent again.
“I’m sorry…” Rolf began. “I was so stupid for having done all those things. Luna didn’t deserve any of that. She is just like you said, Ginny. She’s kind and warm and she loved me so much. I did not see that… I thought that I could still be myself with my chaotic life and distorted conceptions about what a young man is supposed to do. I thought I could control my feelings, that I was not going to fall in love with Luna… but I did, regardless of what my mind perceived. And when I realized that I did feel the love she felt, I shut myself from her… and I made mistakes, so many mistakes that I’m ashamed of.”
“You still haven’t told us why you came tonight…” Ginny said.
“Let him say what he’s got to say…” Harry spoke.
“That day, when you guys were having that party for Victoire… I panicked. I… wanted to be myself, like I once was – with the parties and the commitment issues. What I failed to see then, was that I had already changed. She had changed me. And I crushed her in a bad attempt to prove myself and my stupid friends that I was still the Rolf Scamander everyone knew. I just needed time to see just how wonderful she made my life, just how important she is for me,” Rolf spoke while tears started forming at the corner of his eyes.
“I needed just a little more time to understand, because I was not ready to take her as she was, with her smile, her strength and her ability to make me happy. Before meeting Luna, I was empty and terribly lonely. But the way she loved me… gave me life. She taught me things that I’ll never forget… she taught me how to hope, how to smile, how to live… she taught me what real love is and what it stands for.”
Ginny has began crying because Luna had taught her these very things after the battle, when she had thought that the world was over along with Fred’s death. She knew how valuable these lessons were and how she would always feel grateful to Luna for all the wonderful things she had said that night to sooth her. As for Harry, he knew them too. He remembered that afternoon in the Forbidden Forest, when he and Luna had watched the Thestrals together and then her calm voice trying to assure him about the fact that he and his godfather would meet again, beyond the Veil, just like she and her mother would one day.
“She spoke me to me of things that I had never understood before and she showed me that life is beautiful and worth living every second of it. She taught me not to fear anymore… Today, I’m not scared to tell the world that I love her. I love her, Ginny!” he said while looking at the red haired girl. “And I need her so much… The past months, since she’s been gone have been like Hell for me: I could not sleep; I could not eat… all I could feel was remorse and guilt; guilt for having pushed aside the only woman who has made a difference in me. She’s all I have and all I ever want to know.”
“She came to us, you know… the same night that she left you,” said Harry. “She was devastated. She told us everything, the lie she had lived in… the fear, the tears…”
Rolf felt like his heart was being pierced with a dagger, but he clenched his teeth and allowed the pain to take over his body. He deserved it.
“You hurt her deeply, Rolf…” Ginny whispered, chocked by her own tears that were now streaming down on her red cheeks.
“I know… That’s why I want to make it up to her. I want her to be happy – I want to be the one who makes her happy. I want to be able to look her in the eyes and tell her ‘Luna, I’m sorry’ because she deserves to hear that. I feel like it’s my duty to find her and apologize for having been such a jerk. She gave me so much and I’ve given her back so little. It is now the biggest regret of my life – not to have seen the extent of her love and sacrifice.”
“She loved you so much… and she still does,” Ginny said bitterly.
“Then help me find her… I have to tell her what I feel before it’s too late,” Rolf spoke as a big tear rolled down from his left eye. “My grandfather died yesterday… it made me realize that life is so fragile and can end with the blink of an eye. I want to live what’s left of my life with Luna; there’s no one in this world I’d rather be with than her. If tomorrow were the last day I’ve got on Earth, I’d want to spend it with her. Please Ginny… Please Harry…”
Silence fell between the three, a silence that Rolf could not break. He knew that he had spoken all he needed to speak. It was now up to the Potters to make a call, a call that would influence his life. He thought of Luna and how he needed her badly… he recalled her face, her smile… the way she used to stare at the horizon for hours at an end without even flinching. He thought of that kiss in the forest, beneath the heavy branches of a tree and of the scent that her skin carried in those brilliant nights when he would take her on a ride with the flying carpet.
He could still feel the smell of her hair in his nostrils or the touch of her fingers on his skin. He could hear her giggling although she was so far away from him; he could hear her talking about Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks and Wrackspurts. He had been truthful: Luna was all he had and all he ever wanted to know.
AN A bit of suspense never hurt anyone, is it?:D Well, my dears the next is the last chapter. I will try my best to update this week as I know how impatient you guys might be. Anyway, I am still in denial over this, so I'm not thinking about the fact that Luna and Rolf are no longer a significant part of my life... so let's play pretend for this chapter only:D I hope u enjoy this! Much love from me!Roe
PS. For those that wonder, Teddy doesn't live with Ginny and Harry... I just thought it would make sense him spending nights at the Potters' since James says in DH that Teddy is basically part of the family since he's always around.
Chapter 25: Epilogue
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Luna stared speechless at the ceiling. She could not sleep tonight – not that sleep had come easily for her since she had arrived in Romania. She thought she saw his face again, through the grey swirling tones of a dull ceiling or through the fluttering plain curtains. It was chilly in the room, quite the usual for an early morning of July in the deep forests of the Transylvanian mountains. The dulcet sounds of a sad nightingale reverberated from the distance, but to Luna its song seemed so close, as if the bird was merely sitting inches away from her. What made it feel so close was the appropriate tune that it had taken, apparently ever since Luna had occupied this very room.
It spoke to her of a long-gone freedom, of a heart whose pounding had once made hers pound, of a secret language that she and Rolf had once spoken but whose words he had never truly understood; but most of all it made her remember all those times when love had made her feel so light and burden-less. Time…it now passed so slowly as if the hands of the clocks were now too old and withered by their daily routine to perform the movement with velocity. They were too tired of this life and their laziness only seemed to increase Luna’s anxiety, which lately seemed to enjoy far too much torturing her and draining that last ounce of sanity left in her.
It passed for Charlie when he’d be up from early morning until midnight, burying his youth and health in the researches he was so fond of. It passed for sister Ana who woke up everyday with a prayer for her God, continued the day with the activities that she performed with such delicacy and elaborateness and then as the last ray of the Sun would sink between the high peaks of the mountains, she went to her cell and ended her day with another prayer. It passed for Xenophilius Lovegood in the many voyages he now carried – searching for a new wild beast that no one had heard of, but in his heart realizing that he was actually trying to cast his loneliness aside.
It did not pass for Luna.
It went by with such velocity for others – Charlie always complained that the day had not enough hours for him – but in Luna’s world it stood still. The hours on the clocks were marked like years and the weeks had turned into centuries. Centuries of solitude… She did not seek to cast her loneliness aside, she did not make a routine of her life because she was afraid of boredom and certainly she did not work until feeling worn-out. She just stood there, contemplating her life and most precisely, the path which lately it seemed to have taken on without her consent. She allowed the days to pour from the hour-glass, knowing that she could not do anything to increase the pace. It went by in a slumberous rhythm, dizzying her…
She had not felt so life-less since her mother had died and possibly this aching was even harder to take, because she was more mature now. She saw the world differently and understood things that as a child she had missed or simply ignored, because her mind had not been ready to perceive the reality around her.
Luna knew that she loved Rolf, still. After all the pain, the afflictions and the lies he had lured her with into his wicked games of love, she still dared to feel – to feel for him. She wished she could take back her memories, her joys and tears and seal them in a box, which she would never open again. She had tried to write her feelings in a diary – like she had done then, when her mother had died – but she had not been able to write anything, but the three words she dreaded most. ‘I love him’ she had jotted on a blank page of a notebook, before throwing it out on the window.
These three words were more than a biography for Luna; they held a meaning that not even she could comprehend. In the immensity of those three simple words she found herself as being so tiny and insignificant, so fragile and inutile as if she no longer controlled her life. ‘I love him’ did the living for her.
A breeze penetrated the room making Luna flinch at the mere hearing of the curtains fluttering. The windows were open. It was almost morning and it seemed at that point that another night had gone by purposeless. She had not reached a conclusion; her mind had indulged itself again with the memories of a life she did not live in anymore and as the dawn of a new day approached she knew that the following hours would bring along the same incertitude. She lifted from the bed and headed for her closet, from where she took a long knitted cardigan.
She put the clothing on and then stepped outside her room, hoping that a long walk around the domain would help her clear the many thoughts swarming in her head. Luna walked past the inner yard and emerged outside on the land, through the giant door marking the barrier between the real world and the convent.
She decided that she would not circle the convent this time, but instead would go farther into the valley, to the west where the calm breeze bated. She watched her feet walking slowly towards a destination she had never seen but which she desperately needed to find. She clutched fiercer to her cardigan, pulling it tighter around her frail body, not on account of the cold outside but because she needed something to cling to at that moment. Her fingers needed to hold onto something – as insignificant as the fabric of her clothing – for hope was unreachable, untouchable for her.
She could cry, of course…she could scream and throw a tantrum, but it would not ease her hurting. It would not diminish her fright, it would not cure the gashes…it would not open the door towards a new, better destiny. She just had to face it and cling to what her friends and Charlie had told her. It would get better in time. These wounds that bled abusively would heal once the hours would re-take their normal rhythm. But for now she had to endure it all, to carry on fighting this lost battle until there would be nothing left but a memory and the scar of her struggle.
Curiosity had killed the cat, but Luna still had eight more lives to keep her going. By the time she would leave Romania, she will have lost one more with all this pain, but there were plenty enough left to ensure that she would live through it. She was the cat and perhaps something even smaller, like the spider that Zabini had drowned into the goblet of wine.
She walked farther, all this time doing comparisons between her situation and that of the little bug that had lost its life that night, when aristocratic drinks and childish prides had exceeded the normal level. She stepped out from the glade and ventured onto the highlands, where the morning mist seemed to have thinned with the approaching of the sunrise. It was not dark anymore and the sky seemed to have gained a purple shade.
She lost her sight into the distance until she could make out the shape of a man approaching. She could not see his face but that walk, that self-assuredness emanating from his gestures and the way his hair fluttered in the calm breeze – she knew those. She had seen them before. The figure kept approaching and she stood still, unable to move as if she had just been stunned. Her eyes fixed the tall young man wearing a black coat reaching to his knees and a green t-shirt beneath. He was now closer to her and on a second look she recognized him.
It was Rolf.
He seemed to have recognized her as well, for as soon as he laid his eyes on her, he began running faster than Luna had ever seen him do. In just a couple of seconds, Rolf Scamander stood before his Luna, panting for air and unable to take his eyes of her. She could not speak either, but this time she would not be the one to break the awkward silence. If he had come all the way from England, then he had a couple of things to tell her. He would do the talking today. Luna would just listen.
“Luna…” he whispered, his eyes narrowing as though trying hard to keep the tears from falling from them. “I want you to listen to me because I need you to. I want to say all the things that I’ve left unsaid all this time. Will you listen, Luna?”
“Yes…” she managed to mumble, through her open mouth.
“I am sorry…so sorry and I know that this mere apology will not do for all your sorrow. I’ve hurt you in the cruellest of ways and I will never be able to forgive that, myself. You were pure, warm and everything that I ever wanted in a woman yet I could not see your worth. I was vain and immature. I was the blind one, Luna, because I failed to see that you are the woman for me. I’ve missed you so much since you’ve been gone; I’ve missed your laughter, your eyes, the way you made feel, the natural manner in which you completed me. My heart, my mind, my whole body is not what they used to be once, because you’re not there to fill in the blanks and the open space between my arms,” he paused.
“I was afraid, so afraid of being different, of changing… But I’ve been another man from the very day I laid my eyes on you. You make me a new man Luna, just by merely looking at me. You loved me so tenderly that within your kisses, all my fears vanished regardless of my own awareness towards this ever happening. You know, Luna, my grandfather died and…” he chocked and for a split second he thought he would not be able to speak ever again, for the pain in his chest threatened to kill him.
“I know…” she spoke bitterly, while tears started rolling down on her cheeks. “I read it in the newspaper. I’m sorry I wasn’t there…”
“His death made me realize that life is so fragile and it can end so fast. I don’t want to find myself at the end of my days without you. I want to grow old you, to share everything in me with you. I want to be able to die in my bed – whether it’s tomorrow or a hundred years from now – knowing that I had the love of my life by my side. Life is short and sinuous but I want to hold your hand for as long as we both shall live, because I love you…”
“I love you more than words could ever explain. I love you beyond my fear and pride. I love you in your every shape, with your dreams, your voice, your beautiful eyes and that calm you bring about when you walk into a room. I love how you dance all by yourself, how you hum songs, how you whisper words of wisdom, how your hair smells like in the rain… I love you with every beat of my heart, with every breath of my body because you give me life. You’re my air, that song that has been playing non-stop in my ears since you’ve left… you are the reason why I haven’t died until now. I am Rolf Scamander because I love you… Come back with me to England and I promise that you’ll never shed another tear of bitterness. I know I’ve made promises that I’ve been unable to fulfil in the past, but this time I mean them. Come back to me…”
She gaped at him, taking in every of his words like songs from a distant memory. She could not believe her senses; Rolf was there, in bones and flesh, apologizing and saying that he loved her. And how he loved her… she could not control the shivering anymore, her hands had long lost their stillness and her tears had long begun their journey on her red cheeks. She looked him in the eyes – in those big green eyes – and saw that he too was crying. She could feel the grief and pain in his heart, as if she were experiencing it. His face was just as mesmerising as it had always been, with the arched eyebrows and thin lips, the long nose that added more elegance to his masculine features.
“Marry me, Luna!” he said and then rummaged through his pockets. He took out a purple box which he opened instantly, revealing a pearl ring. “I want to live the rest of my life with you… I want to have a family with children that look exactly like you. I want you to live as Luna Scamander!
She threw herself into his arms and kissed him like she had never kissed him before. He could feel her lips rubbing against his and at that point no feeling could ever match that pure and delicate sensation of their mouths melting in the sweetest perfection. Her fingers were clasped between the black strands of his wet hair, while his arms lifted her higher in the air. When their lips finally parted he allowed her feet to touch the soil but his arms did not leave her back. They curled around her tiny waist, pulling her closer to him in order to feel her warm breath upon his own skin. How he had missed that… how he had missed everything that made Luna who she was.
Their faces were so close to each other now that all their eyes could see was the blurry image of their counterparts. She saw the green swirling around the black pupil, he saw the blue that always hypnotized him and so the future seemed so much brighter. She could trust him again. He had travelled far to come and serve his heart on a silver platter and from that moment on, Luna knew that Rolf Scamander would never lie or hurt her ever again. He loved her and she loved him back. There were no mysteries, no riddles to be solved and as awkward as it may seem for Luna and Rolf – as they had always enjoyed the secrecy around the other – it brought comfort and peace. There were no hidden catches – just Luna, just Rolf and the love they would share despite their blurry pasts.
He looked her straight into the eyes and realized that from that moment on there should be no odd moments of silence. They would tell it all.
“Luna…” he spoke, cupping her face. “Let’s go looking for Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks!”
“Oh, I’m afraid they don’t exist,” she replied shyly, still delving into his stare.
“How come…? But you’ve always…”
“You see…” she cut him off. “I’ve been looking for Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks half of my life and all this time I never realised that it was my mother, the one that I was really trying to find. They are not real… They’re just the product of the imagination of a girl who lost her mother in a time she needed her most.”
He was silent, not because he lacked the words to sooth her but he realized that there were no more wounds left to heal. She – just like him – was ready to start a new life and leave behind the past.
“But Nargles,” she spoke while he placed his arm around her shoulder, together walking towards the convent. “Now, those are the creatures that we should focus on. I think Daddy can help us set a campaign…”
Rolf smiled because he knew that albeit having changed, Luna was still the dreamy and eccentric young girl he had once met in a late afternoon by the shores of Dorset. He nodded approvingly and then began telling her the steps that needed to be taken regarding this campaign, once they would get back to England but also how they should also organize the best wedding Ottery St. Catchpole and Dorset had ever witnessed. They walked over to the convent and entered the inner yard, without looking back. An adventure was at its start.
Luna gazed up from the book she had been perusing for a couple of hours, only to find that the house was silent – which was rather peculiar. Nevertheless, she looked down again at the neat writing that marked the final sentence of a story she had not only devoured in the pale light of the afternoon, but also one that she had lived with every ounce of her body. She turned another page and came across another catenation of words. This was a dedication.
“To my wonderful husband, Rolf (who has also helped me fill in the missing moments of our story), so that our love would live on forever – long after we shall both die. To my extremely gifted children – Lorcan and Lysander – so that you would one day understand the miracle that has brought you about. And last, but certainly not least, to my loyal friends who have always been there for me, in times of grief and in times of happiness.”
She smiled as she noticed her name scribbled at the bottom of the page in italics. She closed the book and then decided it was time she went outside to check on her family. Luna emerged from the room, stepped on the marble floor of a long hallway that led to a back door. She opened it with a creaking and then stepped forward onto the small terrace from where she could see Rolf – now in his forties – with their twin sons, Lorcan and Lysander, playing in the back garden of their handsome Victorian house on the Cornwall shore. She could feel the warm breeze of the sea caressing her cheeks and meddling with the blond hair that she had passed onto her children.
They were the spitting image of her except for the eyes, which naturally resembled their father’s. Rolf waved at her, upon seeing her sitting in the doorway and then invited her to come and join them. Luna nodded and then walked over to her three men, hopping and humming a song that she knew all too well. Rolf took her in his arms and kissed her on the forehead, fondly.
Twenty years had gone by since Luna and Rolf had first met that day, following her graduation. They were now married, had two clever sons, she had two books published – one with the beasts that she and Rolf had discovered along the years and the other retelling their story – and he had a painting exhibition in a Muggle art gallery.
In the end, they did not find Crumpled-Horned Snorkaks but for Luna and Rolf, things couldn’t have turned out for the better.
AN And so it has come to an end, one that I hope you have enjoyed and above all seen as the true and logical outcome of our lovely Luna and handsome Rolf. It is of great joy to me to have shared this story with you and I thank you humbly for the reviews and the support you have given me. Thank you! This story truly belongs to you and I truly truly hope that one day when you’ve found your Rolf/Luna you’ll remember me and this little story:)
Thank you for the amazing 300+ reviews, for the 27000+ views and the 261 favs and the Dobby, which I would have never been able to win had it not been for your votes! Leaving my sloppy speech behind, I would like u to answer this one question ”What did u like best?”. I can’t wait to hear your responses. And btw, I’ll be posting the video tonight too and youtube so feel free to check it out:) One more time, THANK YOU! I’m going to miss this story so much!
PS. The lyrics belong to Eva Cassidy, the song being "Fields of Gold"