They meet at the top of a hill, where it's cold enough that Luna's breath clouds in front of her but not so cold that she's given in and put a hat on. She doesn't want to trap her thoughts. ("It's psychological," he will say, months later. "Hats don't really make a difference." He will say it only to share information, not to convince her or change her, and that will make all the difference in the world.)
He waves to her as he approaches. "Hello, I'm Rolf. I didn't think anyone else would be here."
"Because of the pixie nests?" she says.
"Exactly. But I see you've got your crystals. It won't hold them off permanently, but it'll-"
"Confuse them long enough for me to take a sample of the straw they're using for their nests."
"Not a big sample, though?"
"No, of course not, I don't want to destroy their home."
Later, they shelter inside a tent he's enchanted to repel the pixies. It's smaller and more patched than Luna's used to, but it makes her feel cosy and tucked away, like a woodland creature in its burrow. Rolf is making jam on toast for her, carefully spreading the jam so it reaches right to the edges of the crusts.
"My grandfather would like you," he's saying. "You should come around for tea sometime."
She says she'd like that, unaware he really means it and isn't just being polite, unaware he is never anything but honest.
"It's a date," he says, grinning, blushing.
She does meet his grandfather and he does like her, but first Rolf takes her out to the park where they both bring real bird feed for the ducks and get an ice cream with all the toppings. ("My kind of woman," he teases, grinning, blushing.)
A few weeks in he makes her dinner at his house and lets her look through his notes. She's surprised to find her own name scattered through them. He's professionally referenced old articles she thought nobody read.
"I'm kind of a fan," he admits, handing her a cup of tea and sitting down close enough that their arms brush, though there's plenty of room on the sofa.
Oh, she thinks, it's like that. It's almost never like that for her, at least not for very long.
"Have you read my theories about the Crumple-Horned Snorkack?" she asks.
He nods. "It sounds like a very exciting creature. I was disappointed when I read your last article about it not existing."
"Maybe it does exist and is just very good at hiding, but all evidence suggests otherwise."
"Evidence," he scoffs. "You can't prove something doesn't exist."
Three days later she kisses him outside the Leaky Cauldron, right before they go in for lunch with Hannah and Neville. He grins and blushes throughout the whole meal.
Luna learns that his notes are the only organised thing in his flat, that he is intelligent but often speaks before thinking, that he hums when he cooks, and that he is never anything but honest. He brings her tea in bed every morning and likes to play with her hair while she talks.
Rolf's grandfather is over a hundred years old and walks slowly with a limp, but he seems to lose his years when Luna brings him information about the creatures she discovers. He runs his fingers over her sketches, turns over bits of fur and shards of eggshell in his gnarled hands. He gives her ideas and trails to follow.
"You'll have to write an updated text book," he says one day, and she loves that he's excited by that rather than bitter. She's see that part of him in Rolf too.
His grandmother is another joy he brings her. Tina has respect and often awe for magical creatures, but they're not her passion. Instead she and Luna talk about the new world that's being built. Luna gets information from Harry and Hermione, and passes it on to Tina, who tuts sometimes but smiles more often.
"You should go talk to the Aurors yourself," Luna suggests one day after hearing another story of Tina's adventures in America.
"Oh, no, they don't want an old granny interfering," Tina says.
"They might need you though. Most of the Aurors died in one or the other of the wars. We're trying to rebuild, but we don't always know how."
She tells him she loves him as they watch the sun rise over the ocean, not hidden inside a tent but watchful all the same (she learned that from teachers who were supposed to protect her but cut her instead, from a dark cellar where a classmate stared, from a Bowtruckle that nipped when she held it too tight).
He grins and blushes and kisses her. "I love you too," he says simply.
Luna gets Tina an appointment with Kingsley. It must go well because Tina doesn't need her help to get an appointment after that.
Rolf doesn't get on with Hermione, which is unsurprising, but Ron, Harry, Ginny and Dean all like him. Ollivander declares him a very clever young man. Her father doesn't like him, but this is because Luna almost never spends the night at home anymore. Luna doesn't tell him she was already saving money for a flat of her own when she met Rolf, or that she spends the nights camping alone as much as anything else.
She feels guilty not telling him these things, but it's better than telling him she finds it hard to look in the eye the man who betrayed her only friends. She eats dinner with him, talks about her travels, then leaves with sadness and relief warring in her chest. Luna is good at forgiveness, but she never thought she'd have to forgive him. Maybe that's her own fault, but she lets it be. She doesn't blame her past self for her naivety and trust, she envies her for it.
She moves in with Rolf in January and spends the rest of the winter sorting the place out. Rolf helps her, sheepish as they come across textbooks in the wardrobe and keys in the cutlery draw. Luna likes things in place, she likes to know where her shoes are when she wakes up each morning. Rolf understands this. He flinches when Luna slams the doors too hard or when something smashes unexpectedly. His grandfather doesn't talk about his limp and nobody talks about Rolf's father. They swear their children will not fight in a war. They swear their children will not find hate where they expected love.
They meet on top of a hill and spend the night on opposite sides of a tent. Luna doesn't know he meant it when he invited her to meet his family, but when she wakes in the morning and finds him scribbling away at his notes, already talking before she's even sat up, she thinks about forever.