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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.
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