Title: Heart of Gold
Characters: Luna Lovegood and Rolf Scamander.
Notes: This is how I believe Luna and Rolf met after the ending of Deathly Hallows. Also, Quebec is in Canada. Where I don't live. Just so you know. This has now been appropriately edited - 'bout time, right? - with lines and everything. It's all very exciting. I hope you enjoy!
"And she sings, I want to know what love is, but it seems to come with so much pain. No one wants to show me; it seems easier to just run away. When I am gone, it's just a penny for my soul.
But God, he know, I got a heart of gold." - James Blunt, Heart of Gold.
He meets her on a train to Quebec, of all places.
He's travelling from Halifax, and he helped her carry her odd and extravagant bag onto the train. She sits opposite him now. He's not sure if she's a Muggle or a witch, Canadian or English, but she's pretty.
Some people, like Rolf, look plain and unassuming, and never have great expectations made of them at first glance.
People like the woman on the train; they give out brilliance and beauty and maybe even a sense of insanity.
But as his grandfather once said, "Some people are just unhinged, aren't they? For no apparent reason. Just as some are kind, and some are cruel, and some are perfect beyond belief. Maybe insanity, like these, is just a state of mind. But it's one which I have yet to venture."
He wonders what she is.
She's smiling, laughing even, to herself as she stares down at a letter in her hand. She catches his eye and winks at him, swinging her legs back and forth. There's a pair of reading glasses sitting unexplained on her head, and her long blonde hair is tied into two styled buns at the sides. He thinks she's beautiful.
"Luna Lovegood," she tells him, holding out her hand. "I don't suppose that anyone's told you that you look an awful lot like your grandfather."
He shakes the offered fingers rather dumbly, before blinking at the woman in front of him. She's not a Muggle then, and has an English accent, and obviously knows who he is.
It's oddly comforting on the rather empty train.
"Not particularly," he replies honestly. "Actually, they tell me I look nothing of the sort." She only laughs at this, her voice dreamy and distant. She puts down her letter, and puts on her reading glasses to study him.
"Oh, not on the outside, no. But your eyes are the same; there's that same spark for adventure." Luna tilts her head to the side, and watches him even more intently.
"Oh?" He replies, his voice catching slightly.
"There are a lot of things you can only see if you look hard enough," she says mysteriously. "I don't suppose you have a Miggler net in that bag of yours, do you? Mine's a bit tatty."
He finds that she's travelling to Quebec studying wild and exotic animals... or at least, proving their existence to the lesser public. He knows of her, of course; her father runs the Quibbler, and she's a wizarding naturalist.
Of course he knows of her; but he finds he knows little about the real Luna Lovegood.
"I went to school with Harry Potter, you know," and he expects some story about how he asked for her hand in marriage or something, and she nobly turned it down because her best friend was in love with him, but it doesn't come. He should know better.
"I went to a Slug Club party with him and he helped me find my shoes."
There's never a dull moment with Luna.
"Is that so, Miss Lovegood?" He asks her formally, and she laughs. She fiddles with the radish earrings that hang from her ears.
"You know, I don't think anybody's ever called me that by choice," she muses. "The teachers rarely called on me, and if they did, it always sounded rather exasperated. I think I quite like how you say it, Mr Scamander."
He smiles at her and she smiles dreamily back.
"My grandfather is... a great man. He's difficult, insulting and maybe a little past his time, but a great man."
"I'm afraid that that's true to a lot of people," she replies, looking down at her hands, crossed delicately on her silvery robes. "Heroes never do seem the type to be worshipped, do they?"
"No," he answers, looking at her curiously, wondering just how many heroes she knows. It seems infinite, like a lot of other things about her. "No, I don't suppose they do. But I don't know a lot of heroes personally. Only two, really."
"Oh?" She asks, her wide, unblinking eyes trained on him. They're a little unnerving in the closeness of the carriage.
"Yeah; my grandfather, and you."
"I'm not a hero," she tells him with a wave of her pale hand. "Simply a little bit heroic." He laughs, but her face is almost grave, rivalling her light tone.
"In some ways, aren't we all?" He answers, and this time, she does smile.
"I think I forgot to ask, Rolf," she starts airily, and he marvels at how delicate and beautiful his name sounds on her lips. "Why are you in Quebec?"
"This and that," he tells her. For you. I would go to Ghana and the North Pole and the middle of Atlantis if it meant following you. "My father, mostly, thinks it'll be good work experience. He wants me to be a magizooligist."
"What do you want to do?"
"I've never really thought about it," he replies, thinking. "But I suppose it's a good enough place to start."
"When I was little," Luna says, crossing her legs elegantly. "I used to watch the family in the distance from my bedroom window. The Weasleys. They're so kind." She stares off into space. "Quite a few Nargles around there though," and she giggles.
"Why did you only watch?" He asks, contemplating her. Luna doesn't seem the type to care what others think.
"Some people aren't quite ready for me, I think," Luna tells him, raising a clear, blonde eyebrow. "Ron is still a bit... unnerved. But when we went to Hogwarts, Ginny was my friend. I still watched from a distance, because she was Ginny. Growing up the one girl with six brothers and being special for something she has no control over... that toughened her up, so to speak. She could always handle me, I suppose. Like Harry. But the others weren't quite there yet."
Rolf thinks that it's a very sad thing to know that some people can take to you the wrong way simply because you're yourself.
"Don't you mind?"
"Not really; people are simply using their brains. The majority of people live by their brains and their eyes, whereas others live by their hearts and ears. I'm the latter, you see, and the world needs the former more than me. But to let the heart rule over the brain is to let a Gryffindor, however noble, rule over a Slytherin.
"The mind is a brilliant thing," she tells him, seemingly going off track. But she continues, "Brilliant, but cold. It does not have feelings; much like a Blibbering Humdinger, I suspect. So no, I don't mind."
"When I was young, my grandfather used to read me his book. I grew up on Magical Beasts and Where To Find Them."
"Oh, so did I!" Luna says, and he gives her an odd look. "Not the same way as you, I expect. My father used to read it to me and we'd fill in the gaps, you see. I think that there should be a XXXXXX rating, don't you? For Heliopaths and Umgubular Slashkilters and the like."
"I thought the same." He smiles at her. "Maybe sub-categories as well, for their areas and how common the beasts are to find, maybe how dangerous to the public they are - I mean, as terrible as a Hungarian Horntail is, what percentage of the population has actually seen one?"
"Oh, I'm so glad you agree! We'll make a magizooligist of you yet! What about your grandfather?"
"I think he agrees with the rating. But maybe not about the Heliopaths. I can't say that my grandfather is your father's biggest fan."
"Oh, I don't suspect he's anyone's," Luna tells him. "He has ideas that can look supercilious and controversial. As do I, although I'm not as blinkered as I once was. I've sadly accepted the fact that the Crumple-Horned Snorkack most likely does not exist in the Northern Hemisphere, and I can't expand my search just yet, despite my dad's insistence.
"I want to prove what I can do for the Wizarding World, and I need to start somewhere."
"So, you chose Quebec, of all places?"
"I haven't been there yet."
"We've been on the train five hours, now," Luna comments. "The dark's rolling in."
"That's an odd phrase," he replies, looking out of the window at the dark grassy hillsides moving past the window and out of sight.
The woman looks back at him, and there's a hint of a smile playing on the side of her mouth.
"My mother used to say it. She was an extraordinary witch, and an excellent singer. When she worked, she used to create songs with me, little phrases and tunes to keep us from boredom. The stars are coming out, and the dark is rolling in. Sound the sirens, light the flare; the dark is rolling in..."
"I can't say that my family care for music," Rolf says, turning back to the blonde haired witch. "Or art, for that matter."
"I adore art," Luna says wistfully. "In my old bedroom, in my childhood house, I painted a picture on the ceiling, of my friends. I spent a long while on that, I seem to remember, but never did get the chance to enchant it."
"Death Eaters," she replies simply. She doesn't expand on her answer, and Rolf doesn't ask her to.
"You have very beautiful eyes," he tells her in a moment of madness. Maybe her spontaneousness is rubbing off on him after six hours with the extraordinary Luna Lovegood.
And they are beautiful. They're a clear grey-blue, so light that, at some angles, they appear simply silver. Her eyelashes are long and there are shadows underneath them and lines at the corners. They are wise eyes.
"Thank you," she replies to him airily, folding the letter in her hand into a little origami phoenix. She picks it up, and studies it, before checking the carriage. It is empty apart from one sleeping Muggle man at the back, turned away from them.
She takes out her wand.
"We learnt to do things like this in our revised sixthy year," she comments, muttering an incantation and turning the phoenix gold.
Performing a few more intricate charms, she raises her origami phoenix up to him, where it sits on the palm of her hand.
Suddenly, it flies into the sky, beats its wings, and promptly bursts into glittering, shimmering flames.
"Oh dear," Luna says dejectedly. "That wasn't meant to happen."
"So why were you in Halifax?" Rolf asks, after three more failed attempts with the little paper phoenixes. One lasted long enough to start singing, before hitting a high note and exploding.
They both eventually gave up on them, and Luna had handed Rolf a special edition Quibbler to keep him entertained.
"I used to come here with my parents, when I was little. My mum's daddy came from Halifax, so she used to visit here when she was a little girl too."
"How long has it been since you were there last?" He persists absent-mindedly flipping carelessly through the edition of the Quibbler Luna had leant to him earlier. At her continued silence, he looks up and sees her staring out of her window.
"The Death Eaters," she says, and he expects her to just leave it there, his only explanation. Again, however, she surprises him by keeping going. "They hunted down, burnt down and destroyed the town my grandparents used to live in about ten years ago. I didn't see the point in coming anymore."
"I'm very sorry to hear that," he says softly.
He asks her about her silver robes. They're unconventional, and look quite cold in the harsh weather of Canada's winter. She merely shrugs.
"It's supposed to interact with the moon's cycle," she says, and motions to the black streak down only one side. "It's almost a full moon, so it's mostly silver at the moment. And don't worry; it has warming charms cast on it and whatnot."
"That's... very clever."
"Thank you," Luna replies, giving him a glowing smile, shimmering more than her robes. "It's from my name. Luna means moon in Latin, did you know?"
"Isn't that where lunacy derives from?" He's relieved when she laughs.
"It is. I had a friend once, named after the two twins of Rome, Romulus and Remus. He was a werewolf. It was all horribly fitting, don't you think? His second name was Lupin, as well. Lupus is wolf, in Latin."
Rolf bows his head.
"All these Latin wizarding names are so hard to keep up with, even if they sound quite pretty. Although, I once knew a boy whose name meant dragon. How horrid," she remarks, fiddling with one of her earrings.
There is silence in the carriage.
"Happy seventh hour!" Luna suddenly exclaims, not even checking her watch. Rolf smiles down at her.
She looks down, an odd expression on her face. "We used to say that, you know. Witching hour, we called it, but it was really just 7 o'clock in the evening. That was when the Carrows lost their power over us; we could plan for Dumbledore's Army in our Houses and our dorms. They never realised that instead of communicating and planning times, it was just one that we all knew. Simple, really."
"I've heard of Dumbledore's Army," Rolf says. "You fought at the Department of Mysteries, didn't you? When You-Know-Who came back?"
"There were only six of us there. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Ginny and I," Luna tells him, unashamed. "And you can call him Voldemort, you know."
He flinches, and she laughs, rolling her eyes. "Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself, to quote a great man."
"Me?" Rolf quips. She laughs with him. "Did you fight in the Battle of Hogwarts?"
"Yes," she tells him. "I did. Poor Neville... Ginny and I basically left him to it, to run the DA those last few weeks. Ginny went home over spring, and I was taken at Christmas." She sighs. "We all fought very hard in that war. I don't suppose you were old enough, were you?"
"My mum and dad joined in," Rolf answers, somewhat ashamed. "We lived in Hogsmeade, you see. I was only eleven."
Rolf finds that neither of them can sit in silence for very long. They spend the next four hours basically telling each other their life stories, all the funny moments and heartbreaking events, and the war that seemed to consume most of their time.
Right now, they're playing a word game. It seems pretty pointless, but it sparks some interesting conversations.
"Christmas," Luna offers, and he smiles.
"Mistletoe," he counters, and Luna laughs, blushing.
"Nargles," she replies, and she laughs harder at his odd look. "They infest mistletoe plants; always be wary that their nests don't fall on you." Their game stops soon after, because they are laughing too hard to properly form a response.
"I think it's snowing outside," Luna says, looking out of the black window.
"How can you tell?" Rolf asks, looking out of the window also. He can't see anything out of it, just the slightly shimmering reflection of himself in the surface of the window.
"The shadows are moving," she tells him, pointing to the glass. "You can tell it's soft, not like rain. We would be able to hear rain." Her fingers trace obscure patterns on the window as her breath fogs the surface.
"It's Christmas Eve now," he says offhandedly, looking at the date atop of the Quibbler issue. She looks at the odd, decorated watch on her right wrist.
"Merry Christmas Eve, then, Rolf," she says, smiling. "To see the dark rolling in, you've got to close your eyes. Don't underestimate the power of lies, as the dark comes rolling in."
"Don't you have a brother?" Luna asks him suddenly, at two o'clock in the morning. They're both still wide awake, willed on by each other's presence.
"I did," he says. "He died, fighting with my parents when the Death Eaters attacked Hogsmeade, then Hogwarts." She doesn't say, I'm sorry, or, I'm sure he's okay.
She only nods, and turns back to the window.
"Loss is a fickle thing," she tells him. "It only takes one moment, one slip up to lose someone... but I always find that there are banana skins all over this floor."
"Banana skins," he repeats, gazing at the woman six years older than him, with a halo of gold for hair and silvery pools of light for eyes. "Yes, I suppose there are. We just have to be very careful where we tread," Rolf says philosophically, but Luna shakes her head.
"Taking risks, fighting when you can run away, making snap decisions, diving into the deep end when you know you can't swim; that's living. And what's the point of saving a life if it's not being lived?"
He says nothing, but she doesn't seem to mind. She gives him a curious smile, and leans back to sleep.
Both have slept for hours, ten in fact, before they are woken by the screeching of the train on the tracks.
"I suppose this is our stop," Luna says, stretching and gesturing to the empty train carriage and the screen on the wall, announcing that they would be stopping in Montreal in five minutes. "It went awfully fast, didn't it?"
"It was a pleasure to meet you, Luna Lovegood," Rolf says, holding out his hand. "You don't look anything like your father."
Luna laughs, still sounding like chiming bells even in the frosty atmosphere and the air of grogginess from lack of sleep around them. "I don't suppose I do, Rolf Scamander. Maybe we'll see each other, if we don't happen to slip up too soon." He laughs along with her.
Rolf stops abruptly.
"I don't suppose..." She waits patiently for him to continue his sentence, and he has a moment to reflect on how beautifully insane this English witch is. "I don't suppose you'd like to come to my hotel, for a cup of coffee, would you?"
She watches him seriously from behind the reading glasses she had put on to sleep. She smiles. "I think I may have time."
He breathes out in relief. "Good. Good. Great, actually. Um... yeah. Should I... should I take your bag, or...?" Luna pats him on the arm, and in a considerable display of strength, she pulls down her bag. "Right. Okay. Good."
She laughs, and takes his hand. Despite the chilly air, her fingers are warm.
Looking out at the frosty banks and then down at her rather heavy bag, Luna looks up at him. Quebec glimmers around them and he smiles.
"I don't suppose you want to be a little heroic, do you?"