[ Printer Friendly Version ] [ Report Abuse ]
Chapter 19 : Bone of contention
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 7|
Background: Font color:
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!”
Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Other Similar Stories