A/N: This is for the Yuletide Fic Exchange on the HPFC forum. This is for LunaPotter99/GoldenTrio99. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!
I do not own Harry Potter. I write for fun, not for profit.
The jungle was hot and sticky, and every few meters Harry stepped in something that made him re-think the intelligence of following Luna on her quest to find the short-snouted Blascard, some kind of monkey-like creature with saliva that was, according to her father, able to cure some of the most deadly diseases known to Muggles. Of course, the reason this miracle monkey had not been found by the Muggles, or anyone else for that matter, was that they possessed fur able to instantly camouflage itself, and therefore to see it one had to catch a glimpse, usually out of their peripheral vision, to catch the ruffle of fur as it wandered past. He couldn't help but wonder how anyone knew about it if it had yet to be captured and studied, but Luna was adamant it was alive, and had planned a trip to the Amazon in search of it. And Harry, who needed a break from his job as an Auror, and who couldn't say no to his fiance, was easily talked in to going along. The trip was worth it, even if their hunt seemed to be getting them nowhere. The scenery was beautiful, everything smelled damp and rich and teeming with life, the air was clear, and the animals they did encounter were fascinating. But they only had two days left in their trip, and so far no luck in finding anything that even remotely resembled what Luna described, though they had come across several bugs she had collected and planned on studying.
"Look, Harry," Luna called from somewhere in front of him, pointing into a small river he had been hearing for a while, but couldn't see.
"What?" he said, jumping over a few tall roots and coming to a halt after nearly stepping on a giant coiled snake.
"Bloody hell!" he shouted, jumping back and cracking his head on a tree.
The snake rose up slowly, leaning towards him, and Harry got the impression he was being studied. "You," he heard a soft, hissing voice say.
"Bloody hell!" he repeated, eyes wide.
"I remember you," the snake said. "You set me free."
"Did I?" Harry stammered, then remembered his trip to the zoo so many years before. "I did!" he smiled, now excited. "You made it to Brazil!"
"I did," the snake nodded.
"A little stowing away, and a little work," it replied cryptically, tilting it's head.
"Are you enjoying it?"
"Very much," it nodded. "Much better than a glass cage. Your mate?"
It looked quizzical.
"A bit different."
"One might say unique."
"I see. What brings you down to Brazil?"
"We're in search of... some creature she is sure exists."
"You are not convinced?"
"Not totally, but it's nice to get away either way."
"I'm sure it is. What does this creature look like?"
"So camouflaged you must catch sight of it by it moving."
"There are many creatures that blend in, though none quite like that."
"I wouldn't have thought so. I should probably get back to looking, though. It's been nice to see you again. I'm glad you made it to Brazil."
"Thank you again. I'll spread word to leave you and your mate alone should you take a wrong step."
"I appreciate it."
The snake nodded to him, then Luna, and slithered off. It looked as though Luna was too engrossed in a large flower to notice, though she spoke as if she had been a part of the conversation the whole time.
"He's a friendly sort, isn't he?" she said.
"An old friend," he nodded.
She crossed into a rare patch of sunlight, lighting up her golden hair, making her look even more ethereal than she usually did, and he couldn't stop the smile from crossing his face. No one could get the beauty in even the smallest things quite like Luna could, nor did anyone else he meet have the constantly positive outlook she had, and it was those things that he loved about her. Yes, being with her was a bit strange at times, few days went by without her mentioning something he had never heard of before, but once he was around her long enough he grew accustomed to hearing something strange when he was trying to take a sip of coffee and read the paper.
"It's getting late," she sighed, staring away from the sun and nowhere remotely near her watch. "Perhaps we should turn around and try again one last time tomorrow."
"I think that would be best. We wouldn't want to miss our reservations," he agreed, reaching for her hand, but she gasped and dove for something behind him. For a moment panic surged through him, thinking it must be something poisonous or with some combination of claws and fangs, but when Luna stood up with a triumphant laugh he thought she might have finally lost it. It looked as though she were holding an invisible cat, and her hand occasionally jerked as though what she were holding was trying to get away. But then he caught sight. Just a moment, as a bird flew behind her hand and was blocked from view by whatever she was holding.
"Luna, that..." he started in surprise.
"Short-snouted Blascard," she smiled, drawing her wand and tapping the thing so it turned brown. It really did look like a monkey, with wide eyes and a long tail. He stared in disbelief at the thing as she pulled a sponge-like object from her pocket, coaxed the thing to bite it to harvest some of it's saliva, and lifted the spell. Before he could object she let the thing go.
"What are you doing?" he asked in surprise.
"Letting it go home."
"You didn't get any pictures! Or fur! Or... something!"
"What good would pictures do? You can't see it," she pointed out as she stared at the spot where the thing had disappeared.
"But you did the spell..."
"And it looked like several other monkeys from the area. It would be no proof."
"You could have kept it. Took it home with us. Studied it. This is a big thing!"
"They are very social animals, he wouldn't have liked being taken away from his family."
She smiled and took his hand, kissing his cheek before dragging him towards the path back to their hotel. "Harry Potter, you never learn. Sometimes things are best left free."
He looked at her and smiled, putting an arm around her. "I think I know that better than you could imagine."