Summary: Minerva McGonagall is surprised, then pleased.
AN: LJ community 5-fics. #07/4 Blessing & #05/5 Why
~ooOoo~ ~ooO Part 5 Ooo~ ~ooOoo~
Dark blue eyes darted around discreetly as Bruce followed the short, rotund witch dressed in patched but neat brown-green robes. He was very aware of the animated paintings, the two-dee observers watching him. He wished he had picked up a few robes to fit in, but he had not expected so many witnesses. The school was closed for the summer, the only occupants and witnesses Bruce had expected were the staff. But he did not let it affect him as he looked back, making his own silent observations, keeping track of his steps. If he had to, Bruce was certain he could get out of Hogwarts on his own.
His guide came to a stop in front of a gargoyle. "The importance of being earnest." The gargoyle jumped out of the way to reveal a set of stone stairs. Without hesitation the witch stepped on the bottom most step. Bruce did not jump when the stairs started moving upwards. Probably the magical equivalent of a motion-sensor escalator. Gracefully he followed and waited as the stairs took him to a higher level.
When he stepped off he found himself in a warm welcoming room decorated in good-quality but slightly worn furnishings. Bookshelves lined two walls, a large floor-to-ceiling window leading to a balcony dominated the third. In the middle of the room was a large oversized desk and leather chair. In front of the desk were smaller chairs, some stuffed and some not. Sitting behind the desk was an older stern-looking woman wearing square lens gold-framed spectacles. She looked up from her paperwork and put down her quill.
"Mr Wayne." She rose and moved around the table to hold out a hand.
Bruce reached out gripped the slender aged fingers and bowed over it. He could see she was surprised by his gesture.
She cocked her head to one side. "How may I help you Mr Wayne?" She smiled a thin wintry smile. "Luna mentioned she would be bringing a Muggle friend for a visit. I had not expected you to make your way to Hogwarts alone." She arched a brow. "May I inquire just how you accomplished this feat?"
Bruce responded with a thin wintry smile of his own. "Portkey. Rented a reusable one to Hogsmeade from Gringotts."
She nodded slowly, her expression more thoughtful. "Ah. So how may I help you?"
Bruce resisted the urge to fidget. He did not like asking favours without having some leverage in the first place – usually in the form of a large corporate donation – but Luna had insisted he not use his usual tactics, to be up front and genuine. And Luna did matter so he decided to try it her way. If it didn't work the equivalent to a fat cheque should.
He hesitated for a brief second trying to decide the best way to say it. What he had rehearsed seemed too contrived to go well with the sharp-eyed witch standing before him.
"I'm not sure how much Luna has told you but she considers you an honoured aunt."
The stern implacable visage softened.
"All of my students are important to me Mr Wayne. Some, like Luna, are more special." One corner of her mouth twitched in a small smile. "She is one of the few whose correspondence I truly look forward to receiving. Most of my old students only contact me when they need help or advice. Luna is kind enough to correspond on less… weighty matters. It is a welcome respite from my usual duties. In fact," she cocked her head to one side, "how she talked about you interested me." Her expression turned stern, almost reminding Bruce of Alfred. "I know you might not be familiar with our ways but I can tell she's fond of you Mr Wayne. For someone raised in the Old Ways like Luna it is not something she would take lightly."
Bruce bowed his head. "And I am… attached to her as well," he confessed.
Minerva McGonagall blinked and moved back to lean against the edge of her desk making a 'go on' gesture.
Feeling more secure he continued. "I am not entirely ignorant of your traditions. If her parents were alive I would be talking to them right now." Bruce was strangely satisfied by the dawning realization in the witch's eyes. "I am asking for your Blessing."
"I asked Luna to marry me and she has said yes. It would honour us if you would perform the Blessing at our binding ceremony."
Minerva McGonagall was vaguely aware that she was gawping. Without realizing it she found herself sitting in a guest chair drinking a cup of tea prepared by Luna's young man. Thank Merlin she had asked the Elves to prepare a tray when Pomona had informed her of their unexpected visitor. She struggled to pull herself together, reconcile what she had heard, with what Luna had told her, what she had read in the Muggle papers and what she had observed with her own two eyes.
Bruce Wayne was a very wealthy Muggle businessman. An American billionaire who could easily make any wealthy pureblood look like a pauper. He was also well-known for his playboy lifestyle, fast women and careless habits. The rumours did not quite fit the man sitting across from her. But even if the newspaper gossip were creations of a Muggle Rita Skeeter, he was nothing what Minerva would have imagined for Luna.
Then she remembered the letters, the visits, the shy confessions that Luna was interested in someone, someone she met through a relative in America. Her sad resignation that he would never see her as something more. Then weeks later her joyful expression when confiding he had asked her out. Then just weeks ago Luna had visited and confessed she was certain about her Muggle boyfriend, that he was the one. She wanted to marry him but was afraid to press and force him into making a choice.
Looking at the watchful calculating eyes of the Muggle Minerva signed mentally. Nothing could push this man into an action he did not want to take. The Muggle reporters were fools if they could not see the steel in this man.
Firmly she redirected her wandering attention to his request. He was asking her to act as Luna's family, in place of her parents. She placed her cup down on its saucer and lifted her eyes to meet his squarely.
"Tell me Mr Wayne, why should I do that? Why should I give my Blessing to your union?"
"Because he cares about me."
Both seated occupants turned towards the doorway.
Luna Lovegood smiled cheerfully as she hung her cloak up on one of the hooks near the fireplace and walked towards the chairs. She paused beside Minerva and bent low to brush a kiss against the elder witch's cheek.
She smiled cheerfully at her old Headmistress as she straightened and then walked towards the other occupant of the room.
Minerva could not completely hide her smile as she watched her old student sit sideways on the American's lap, leaning back against him and resting her head on his shoulder. He did not look startled or discomfited by the public intimacy. One large hand cupped her shoulder pinning her against him. It was a familiar action.
Luna smiled broadly, curling into the broad frame of the man behind her. Her head shifted to catch Minerva's eyes.
"Bruce may be rather tight with his words but I have no doubts about his feelings for me. He shows his affections for me through actions, not words."
"I don't trust easily." Minerva was a bit surprised by the unexpectedly deeper voice. "I don't know how it happened but I trust Luna. She accepts without condition or hesitation, just like her uncle. Alfred Pennyworth is technically an employee but he raised me when my parents were murdered. He was the only one who supported my choices without question, like Luna."
Minerva had to look away. The way they were looking at each other was too raw, too intimate. She coughed discreetly to bring them back.
His expression turned blank though the warmth in his eyes remained as he continued.
"I know I am taking enormous advantage of her, by asking her to marry me because I can't let go. She's become a part of my life, like Alfred. I can live without her but I'm not sure I'd really want to. For a long time my life was focused on the past. Luna helps me see each day anew, without the sorrow of old memories and regrets."
Minerva could see he was being honest. And Luna did want to marry him.
"Very well then Mr Wayne. I will perform the Blessing at your binding ceremony."
He smiled, relaxed now that Minerva had agreed. "Please call me Bruce."
Minerva nodded sharply. "Very well then. Bruce. And you may call me Minerva." She cocked her head inquiringly. "Do you have a rough date in mind?"
They glanced at each other, communicating wordlessly. Then Luna turned to her.
"Do you have any plans for the first week of August?"
Minerva smirked. "Don't worry about my plans. I can reschedule." She smiled more broadly. "Let me know if you need any help with the arrangements."
Bruce Wayne laughed softly. "No need. The goblins have made several recommendations. They've signed confidentiality contracts as well."
Minerva nodded firmly. "Good." She glanced expectantly at Luna. "Would you like to give your young man a tour of the castle? Dinner will be served at seven in the Great Hall."
Luna nodded. "Thank you Minerva. We'll take you up on both."
She shifted off his lap and stood up, and waited for him to rise and follow.
As Minerva watched the two of them leave she felt quite pensive. Bruce Wayne had hidden depths. And many secrets. But from what she saw he was open with Luna. That made her feel more reassured about their impending union.
She turned around and opened her planner, making a note in the month of August. There were many preparations that had to be completed before the binding ceremony and she did not have a lot of time to spare. Thank Merlin Luna's young man was comfortable with hiring professional help. Minerva enjoyed attending weddings, not planning them.
The Headmistress of Hogwarts smiled a small catlike smile as she wondered if twelve or fifteen years down the road Hogwarts would welcome and Sort a new American student with the surname Wayne.