Chapter 148: Eccentricities
Leaving the house was a slow process as George tried to maneuver away from the crowd without hurting anyone. They pushed in around him as long as they could, trying desperately to get a glimpse of the boy, until at last they broke free of the crowd. The travel was easier once they crowd was behind them and once they had hit the Main Street the vehicle practically flew out of the city and off to the house of the Lovegoods.
They pulled to a stop before the house and all at once the man in question burst forth from the front door. His wife and daughter followed more composedly but followed all the same.
"Mr Lovegood, it is a pleasure to finally make you reacquaintance," Severus said brightly as he exited the vehicle and greeted the glittery man.
"You remember?" Xenophillius spoke and shook Snape's hand vigorously. "Gloria, you look as good as you ever did at Hogwarts!" He exclaimed at the sight of the lady. "And you must be the famous Harry Potter!" The man practically squealed with delight.
"Xeno, come inside please," Pandora called out to them. "All these pleasantries can be accomplished away from prying eyes."
"My darling, what eyes?" Xenophillius asked and laughed as he motioned around the house and the seclusion they found themselves enjoying.
"Father the Thestrals!" The little girl cried out.
"Oh yes, these are those to spy upon us. Come, come, welcomes to our home," Xenophillius said and rushed the newcomers toward the house. "I believe you are both previously acquainted with my wife Pandora and this is our precious little love, Luna."
"It is a pleasure," Luna said and curtsied to Harry.
"Hello," he said and smiled.
"Wanna play?" She asked.
"May I?" Harry asked and looked to Severus.
"Yes, run along," Severus responded and watched as the little girl took Harry by the hand and dashed off toward a cupboard under the stairs. She threw open the little door to reveal twinkling fairy lights and dangling odds and end, and together they disappeared into the hidey-hole amidst a wave of glee and giggles.
"They will be quite safe there," Pandora spoke as she noticed the hesitation in Severus. "Luna has been preparing for his visit since dawn and has snacks and toys and all manner of good thing in there for them."
"And every pillow in the house," Xenophillius added with a laugh. "That is the reason for the lack of throw pillows upon the sofa, if you were wondering. No matter how fast we charmed them into being, she would snatch them away from us," he continued and lead them into the sitting room.
"That is absolutely adorable. How old is Luna?" Gloria asked.
"She's twenty-seven months but bright and daring as an adult. Anyone who meets her can't believe she isn't four or five years old," Pandora answered.
"Goodness, she's younger than Harry. I would have never guessed it," Gloria said in disbelief.
"Yes, yes indeed. Harry is eight months older than our Luna," Xenophillius said. "He is such a famous little lad that we knew all the particulars of his birth."
"It is something we have tried to keep from him, his fame, but in recent days we have come to know the impossibility of that," Severus said.
"Oh but little children have no idea of such things until they are older," Xenophillius said dismissively. "They want only to please, have a grand time, make little friends and have grand adventures within the garden walls. The world seems so very vast and grand from their point of view. It is refreshing."
"The garden is a whole world of its own to Luna and beyond the house is an entire universe. She's adventurous but she is much more timid when we leave the safety of our homestead," Pandora added to her husbands train of thought.
"Aren't they all, and they would never think about the bad that might be in others. They see people and the opportunity to be friends and yet there is something frightening beyond the safety of home," Gloria commented.
"Oh yes. So true. Luna had never seen a car such as yours until today," Xenophillius commented.
"I understand that most wizards do not travel by car but it is so convenient when moving about among the non-magical folks," Severus said.
"Oh yes, indeed, I believe it. Do you move among the muggles often?" Xenophillius asked.
"Yes. Rosenshire has a population of mixed people. Some know of the magic. Others do not. And yet, we all seem to live quite peacefully," Severus answered.
"You see Pandora, it can be done," Xenophillius exclaimed. "Contrary to the opinions of the ministry. My ideas and opinions are not exactly acceptable by many among them, but I like the muggles. I find them fascinating."
"Nor are mine most of the time, but Dumbledore accepts us or he would not have set up this meeting," Severus said.
"Indeed, though I believe he wants Luna to make friends more than anything," Xenophillius said.
"She isn't socialized?" Gloria asked.
"Most people find us too odd to let their children play with her and because of our political views and open eccentricities, I'm afraid not," Pandora answered.
"Well we are quite eccentric ourselves and we would be glad to see you in Rosenshire at any time for the sake of the children," Gloria said.
"Yes indeed," Severus said as a rolling bought of laughter could be heard from the children. "And I believe that your political views are more accepted or very soon will be."
"Now that the Order is in the open?" Xenophillius asked much more seriously. "We, at the Quibbler, veil our ideas among the impossible and the speculative but at least the word gets out and the idea may make people, some of them, think on change. But now our ideas are justified."
"You read the Prophet then?" Severus asked with a laugh.
"Oh yes. What a darling photo of you and Harry this morning," Pandora said.
"I don't see the Prophet as competition, but rather, companion to my eccentricities," Xenophillius said.
"Indeed, none of them will ever publish the whole truth or be completely believed by everyone," Severus said darkly. "But at least the truth is out there in the world."
"That is all part of the brilliance of the media. It's not to tell the truth all the time but rather change minds and challenge people to be better," Xenophillius carried on.
"I believe I agree with you on that," Severus said and smiled.
"And I believe that we are quite well suited in our opinions," Xenophillius added with a laugh.
"And the children seem very happy," Pandora commented as Harry and Luna appeared hand in hand.
"Can we be friends forever?" Luna asked the adults in the room.
"I don't see why not," Severus answered joyfully.
"Yay!" The children cheered.
"But we really must carry on with our visiting," he added as he checked his pocket watch. "Dumbledore has us making serval stops," he spoke apologetically to the Lovegoods.
"Yes, he did mention you're touring before you return to Rosenshire," Xenophillius said. "Perhaps we should vacation there this summer," he added to his wife and to perk up the sad little Luna.
"Yes, for my birthday!" Harry cried gleefully.
"That is a fantastic idea and we would be very happy to have you at Willow House," Severus said.
"Then let it be done. We will keep in touch with the details," Pandora said as everyone stood.
After the last pleasantries and farewells, Severus, Gloria, and Harry made their way back to the car and Georges who had been waiting for them.
"Where are we off to next George?" Severus asked when they were settled.
"The house of the Grangers," George responded.
"Howard Granger?" Severus asked.
"Yes, the very same," George replied.
"You know him?" Gloria asked.
"Indeed, we have met before on one of my visits to London," Severus answered and smiled. "I understand they too have a daughter."