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
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