Chapter 1 : A Peculiarity of Sorts
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With each step, her bright blue Wellies plunged into the growing puddles, sending the collected water flying around her feet. To an observer, she looked as though she was dancing in the rain, not just traveling through it.
But that was Luna Lovegood for you. She was capable of making any situation a lot more interesting, if not also a lot stranger as well.
In the seven years that had passed since the infamous Battle of Hogwarts, Luna had grown older in appearance, but not in heart. While she struggled with the aftermath of Voldemort’s reign just like every other person there on that fateful day, she still maintained her distinctive personality.
As was expected of her, she took a position at her dad’s publication, the Quibbler. But due to the increased popularity of the magazine during the war, when it was the only reliable source of information, she couldn’t simply claim a high-ranking position, because the Quibbler now boasted a rather impressive staff. Granted, she could have taken the position if she wanted given her dad’s influence, but she felt it wouldn’t be fair to use her connections to claim something someone else had fought for.
So now, she was working as a Junior Reporter for the magazine, meaning she was often sent on the missions that no one particularly wanted, like this one.
She was supposed to be researching Heliopaths, which required searching a recently burned forest somewhere in York, although she was still somewhat unsure of the exact location. While The Quibbler had become a respected publication, it still featured some of its notable oddball articles about creatures whose existence remained unproven.
Given that these creatures were quite possibly non-existent, coupled with the fact that if they did, they were rumoured to be extremely violent, none of the higher-up reporters wanted to claim this mission. Therefore, it was offered to Luna.
She accepted the new article ecstatically, something that came as no surprise to her co-workers, who had come to accept Luna’s eccentricities as a part of her personality. They even nodded along interestingly as Luna proposed that the Heliopaths behind said fire were most likely the ones that previously belonged to Fudge while he was Minister.
Overall, Luna was rather satisfied with the way her life was unfolding, even if the boy she had harboured a secret fancying for had just married Hannah Abbott. Luna wasn’t the jealous type, and Neville seemed blissfully happy with his new wife, so she felt no need to disturb him. After all, this just allowed her to focus more on promoting her career.
When she finally entered the train station, her tights were completely soaked, despite the use of her favourite multi-coloured umbrella. She discreetly tapped her legs with her wand, and felt the thick material instantly dry off.
Tucking her wand back into her knapsack, she pulled out her train ticket, making her way to the proper platform. While most wizards preferred the time efficiency that came with magical travel, Luna loved the idea of Muggle transportation, particularly trains, which reminded her of the many journeys she made to Hogwarts.
When she was a little girl, her mum told her that the journey was the best part of any trip. Gradually, Luna had realized that, as was often the case, her mum had given her some excellent advice in that statement.
Luna briefly noticed the strange looks she was receiving from some of the other travellers, but shrugged them off. Over the years, she’d become accustomed to being greeted by odd looks, and she also knew that a 24-year-old woman wearing a bright blue jumper, matching Wellingtons, and a rainbow-coloured skirt was not something the average person saw on a daily basis.
Walking across the station, she reached the second platform, where her designated train was waiting. As she boarded, she passed her ticket to the conductor and found a chair to settle herself in.
While the train was not divided into strict compartments like the Hogwarts one had been, it was grouped into seats of four. Luna was rather used to having the whole set of four seats to herself, as the trains were rarely at full occupancy, and people rarely chose to sit with her.
Being the first one on, Luna had time to pull a copy of last month’s Quibbler before watching as people boarded the train. People watching was a rather fun pastime of hers, as she could learn quite a lot about a person just by observing their mannerisms.
As usual, quite a few businesspeople entered the train, talking quietly among themselves, most likely about Muggle financing things, as people like them so often did. A few families boarded as well, and Luna could easily gauge the behaviour of the children within a few moments, based on the parents’ current expressions. Given the couple with three children that boarded looking positively livid, Luna suspected she was sharing the train with quite a few young troublemakers.
More people boarded the train, and Luna was quick to notice the personalities of each passenger. None of them were anything out of the usual, and it seemed that the car was nearly full. She found it a bit of a shame, as it was always interesting to have another eccentric personality on the train with her, even if she didn’t plan on interacting with the other person.
At the last minute, a final man boarded the train, looking harried and nervous, as though he’d been running in order to avoid missing the train, which Luna supposed was actually very likely.
When he spoke to the conductor, he did so very animatedly, and Luna noted his choice of attire: plaid pants paired with an orange jumper. Perhaps she’d have a kindred spirit on this journey after all.
With a small smile of satisfaction gracing her lips, she turned back to her magazine, as she flipped through, trying to find something she wished to re-read.
“Excuse me, miss?” A voice from above tore her from her reading, and she looked up.
“Yes?” she replied, noticing that this was the man who had rushed onto the train moments ago. Closer up, she was able to notice his spiked brown hair, dark green eyes, and slightly crooked nose. Even with Neville haunting the back of her mind, she had to admit that this stranger was rather good-looking.
“Do you mind if I sit here?” he asked, gesturing to the seat across from her. “All of the others are occupied.
She looked around slowly, noticing that yes, most of the seats were indeed taken. “Sure,” she said, before looking back to her magazine. If this man were a wizard, she might have spoken to him about what she was reading, but given she was riding Muggle transportation, that scenario was highly unlikely.
She flipped to the main article of the magazine, turning the whole thing upside down in the process. As had been the tradition of the Quibbler since its creation, at least two of the articles were printed upside down, which added an element of surprise to the publication, according to her dad.
“Did you just turn your magazine upside down?” the man across from her asked.
“Yes, it’s easier to read this way,” she supplied, knowing that he was most likely puzzled by her response.
After a moment’s pause, he asked cautiously, “Is that… the Quibbler?”
Her head snapped up instinctively. She couldn’t decide whether he had simply read the title from the cover, or if he knew of the magazine beforehand.
The man was smirking slightly, looking rather pleased with himself. Luna supposed he felt accomplished for noticing the title and successfully creating small talk, but she knew that, more than likely, he wouldn’t know much more than the name, and the conversation would cease.
“Yes, it is,” she replied, trying to remain friendly to this Muggle who was clearly being a bit too nosy.
“And you are?” he questioned.
He extended his hand in her direction. “Rolf Scamander.”
The name rang a bell, and she quickly scrolled through her thoughts trying to remember where she had heard that name before. In a brief "a-ha!" moment, she realized where she had seen the name before. The name came straight off the title of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Was this Rolf related to the famous author Newt Scamander? She supposed that the last name was relatively uncommon, but then again, risking breaking the Statute of Secrecy over a familiar last name was not a bright idea.
She shook his hand politely, as Rolf continued. Goodness, he seemed to be a talkative one.
“So you’re a relation of Xenophilius? I’ve been reading the Quibbler for as long as I can remember; it’s absolutely brilliant, isn’t it?”
“You know my father?” she asked. “So then you’re a – “
“Wizard, yes,” Rolf interrupted.
“So then why are you riding a train?” Luna was fully aware that the question was a bit hypocritical, given that she was a witch, and riding the train as well, but coming across another magical person was so rare in Muggle transportation, that she wanted to know.
“Well, it may be quicker to use magical transportation, but I’ve always felt like the journey – “
“ – is more important than the destination,” she finished for him, feeling quite satisfied that she’d met another wizard who saw the world rather similar to the way she did.
Soon, her copy of the Quibbler lay abandoned on the seat next to her, and she joined a rather animated conversation with the man across from her. She discovered that he was a magizoologist-in-training, sent over to York to observe a colony of wild Kneazles that was flourishing in a forest traditionally inhabited by Muggle creatures. However, he much favoured the animals that were not proven to exist yet, like Blibbering Humdingers and Wrackspurts. He confessed that his life dream was to one day discover a real life Crumple-Horned Snorkack.
When they arrived at York Station, Luna was almost sad to see him go, because they had had quite an enjoyable time together. However, she knew that she was in York to do research, not chase after a man who happened to share her fondness for elusive magical creatures.
After a full week of research, Luna had plenty of knowledge to use in the article, with a full notebook of observations and related inferences to match. As she headed towards the train station this time, she was greeted by a much sunnier atmosphere.
Normally, the beautiful weather would have made her happier about this train ride, but compared to the fun that she had had on her previous trip, this one paled in comparison. Running into another wizard like that was a rare occurrence, and she couldn’t help but wish that she had at least gotten some contact information from Rolf, as it would have been nice to keep in touch.
She looked down at her watch, noticing that the train was leaving in a matter of minutes. Luna hated being late, but it seemed that some Nargles had taken off with her favourite Wellies, so she spent a full half-hour scouring her hotel for them. It seemed that they had found their way to a floral display two floors down.
Luna picked up her pace, hurrying through the station, and boarding the train at the last minute. The conductor gave her a disapproving look as he examined Luna’s ticket, before allowing her past, into the crowded train car.
As she looked around the car, she recognized a very familiar face almost immediately. But what was he doing here?
Rolf, dressed in yet another colourfully-mismatched outfit, looked up, and an expression of glee passed over his features.
“Well, isn’t this a wonderful coincidence?” he asked jovially.
“It certainly is, although quite peculiar that we both chose to return on the same date and time,” Luna replied, smiling warmly at him as she sat across from him, just as he had done to her a week previous.
Rolf laughed, a funny cackling sound, before looking at Luna sheepishly. “Alright, I lied – this isn’t really a coincidence. I may have called the Quibbler to ask when you’d be returning, and purposefully booked my train for the same day.”
Luna felt a flush of red creep up her cheeks; it was an awfully nice notion of Rolf to adjust his travel just to see her again.
“So, how was your research?” she asked, hoping to change the topic before he noticed her blushing.
Rolf shrugged casually. “A bit dull, but fruitful nonetheless. I have a nice long report to write when I return about how Kneazles are feeding on grey squirrels, which is actually quite beneficial for the forest, considering the squirrels were hurting the trees in the forest. But I’d rather hear about your research; it was probably much more fascinating than mine.”
Luna relayed a great deal of the information she had learned to Rolf, who looked completely immersed in the idea, to the point where his eyes nearly glazed over while watching her speak, and Luna had to wave her hand in front of his face to make sure he was still conscious.
As the train approached its destination, Luna realized that she still had no way to contact Rolf after they departed from this station, and she really did want to keep in touch with him.
Rolf, however, beat her to the punch. “So, Luna, I was wondering,” he rubbed the back of his neck nervously, “if you would be interested in joining me on a search for Gulping Plimpies on the River Torridge this Saturday?”
She was originally intending to swing by Neville’s to join him and Hannah for lunch, but she figured she could reschedule. After all, she’d much rather spend the day searching for Plimpies than having lunch with the man she had once fancied and his wife.
“I’d love to,” she replied, and they both disembarked the train, heading their separate ways.
As was true in most things, Luna’s mother had proven that her wisdom was well founded. The journey was the best part of the trip.
And in Luna and Rolf’s case, a journey was where their story began.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this story, as I’ve been wanting to write something about Luna for the longest time! I would love it if you left a review, because I’m always looking for ways to improve, and I love to hear what people think of my writing! Thanks so much! :)