Prompt: Prompt: Age differences--making it work. // Pairing: Luna/Rolf // Additional notes/ideas: Is Rolf somewhat older than her, since his grandfather was born almost a hundred years before her? Might he be younger, since they married well after Harry and his other friends? Is time travel involved? You tell me!
Word Count: 3 050
Summary: In the deepest, darkest parts of the world, there are many things to be discovered. Creatures of the unknown, creatures that only come out at night and... love.
Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever, been JK Rowling. She owns Harry Potter and all the characters used.
She’d never been that close to a creature so pure before. She’d read about them in books, heard stories from people her father knew, but this was the first time she’d seen one for herself.
The baby unicorn nuzzled the palm of her hand as she ran her other hand over its body. She had thought it would feel the same as petting a horse, but it wasn’t. The body was smooth – it was softer than silk. The experience was like nothing she had ever imagined.
“Such beautiful creatures, aren’t they?”
Luna turned around to face the man that was now standing behind her. She knew him as Rolf Scamander, the grandson of Newt Scamander. Her father had told her many stories of the famous Magizooligist.
She had spent many months travelling the darkest – most interesting – parts of the world. There were some truly fascinating creatures to be discovered in those parts. Her father had travelled with her for some of the time, but he had been forced to return home shortly afterwards. Luna had carried on, sending him letters or pictures when she could.
She didn’t know when she would return, though. There was still so much she needed to see.
“Good afternoon, Mr Scamander,” she said kindly, smiling at him. “I’m Luna –”
“I know who you are, Miss Lovegood. I read your father’s Quibbler.”
Luna smiled, studying the man in front of her. He was quite a few years older than her – twenty years, perhaps? But he was handsome nonetheless. A short stubble was forming on his chin and his deep blue eyes watched her intently. She had seen him watching her from a distance before, but never had he bothered to approach her.
“Oh, well, it’s good to know somebody reads it,” she commented idly, returning to the baby that stood in front of her. One day she would like to see an adult one, but she knew that was less likely to happen. Unicorns were the most mysterious creatures in the world. They weren’t going to approach a human like the baby was doing.
Rolf continued to watch her, but Luna pretended not to notice. The baby ran its nose across her body, perhaps sensing the Cauldron Cakes at the bottom of her bag. She was half inclined to feed it, but knew better than to do so. Who knew what damage it could do to something so fragile?
It was Rolf who spoke first again.
“You’ve been here for some time now, haven’t you?”
Luna didn’t turn around this time. “Is that a problem?” she asked.
“No, of course not. It is wonderful seeing somebody so interested in nature. I’m just wondering why you haven’t moved on yet?”
“I like it here,” Luna answered simply. A light breeze filled the clearing, blowing her hair behind her. Where was she, anyway? Somewhere in the Caribbean? She had lost track.
“I can see that.” Rolf’s voice came out in a long drawl, as if he wasn’t sure what to say next.
Luna waited for him to continue, but he never did. When she next turned around, she was alone (save for the baby unicorn that was still nuzzling her hand). With a smile, she gave the creature one last pet and returned to the cabin she had been staying in.
When she had been told she was staying in the middle of nowhere, she hadn’t quite realised how much of the truth that was. It was a small cabin in the middle of a forest and had been built many centuries ago. Luna generally liked being by herself, but in this secluded part of the world, it confused her as to why finding some peace and quiet was difficult.
From the moment she had arrived two days ago, a large woman (Luna could have sworn she was half-giant) introduced herself and the two other women she was travelling with. She was forced to share a room with the three of them and although Luna didn’t mind doing that, the half-giant snored like a drunk at night, making it quite difficult for Luna to fall asleep.
A day after her own arrival, Rolf Scamander also arrived. He seemed to know the area better than any of the others and Luna found herself wondering if he – or his family – owned the cabin. Perhaps his grandfather had built it during his own travels. It was old enough.
That time in the clearing was the first time they had spoken and as Luna returned, she saw the man tending to two pigs in a sty nearby. She found herself smiling, because of all the places Rolf had been and all the magical creatures he had been fortunate enough to get close to, he chose to keep pigs as his pets.
She thought that was a bit odd, but at the same time, nothing was really odd to Luna anymore. Nothing ever had been odd.
The door was old and rusty and as she turned to knob, it slid along the wooden verandah, distracting Rolf from what he was doing. He glanced up, watching curiously as Luna headed inside to take a shower. She waved to him, which he returned, brandishing a wide smile that she had never seen before. Of what she had seen of him, Rolf was a very serious man and took his work just as seriously. Luna admired him for that.
When she returned from what Rolf had referred to as the shower, she found the man sitting in and old, rotted chair on the verandah. Sweat trickled down his face from the blaring sun they had no protection from.
Luna stood there for a few moments, watching him. It wasn’t until he spoke that she joined him. After his insistence that she stop standing there and it was rude to stare, he summoned another chair, which she accepted graciously.
“So, what brings you to this part of the world, Miss Lovegood?” he asked. “One so young... aren’t you all into Quidditch these days?”
“It’s Luna,” Luna replied. “Lovegood is my surname. My real name is Luna.”
From the corner of her eye, she saw that Rolf had his eyebrows raised, but she wasn’t sure why. Perhaps he was surprised that her name wasn’t actually Miss Lovegood. Or maybe he found her strange. It wouldn’t have been the first time.
“Well, Luna, why are you here?” he asked, more amused than anything.
“To see the world,” Luna answered simply. “It’s a fascinating place.” She glanced up to the sky, watching as two birds flew above them, screeching loudly. “It’s marvellous that so many beautiful creatures exist in the world and hardly anyone knows about it.”
A funny noise left Rolf’s throat and he sat up a little straighter. “Yes... yes it is,” he replied in a whisper.
She felt his eyes on her, but she didn’t look at him. He was a handsome man, but he was far too old to be looking at her in the way she suspected he was. She had seen him do it before. He watched her like she was one of those beautiful creatures.
“Why are you here, then, Mr Scamander?” she asked him.
Rolf looked around the old cabin, seeming to notice the broken windows and rotting verandah for the first time. “I once lived here,” he said. “With my father. It was just after my mother left us and....” He paused. Perhaps he didn’t want to share that much information with her.
“Well, it’s a beautiful,” she told him. “So much nature.”
A peaceful silence filled them after that. The women Luna shared a room were out. It was just her and Rolf, which she found rather enjoyable. He was a kind man and he seemed passionate about everything he did. He had asked her earlier why she hadn’t moved on yet and the truth was she was enjoying his hospitality too much to leave.
“Do you want to see something?” Rolf was, once again, the one to break the silence. He got to his feet, removing the mud and dirt he had accumulated with his wand.
Luna looked up at him, squinting from the sunlight. He was tall – much taller than she had ever thought. “See what?” she asked.
“Something I’ve never shown any other who has come to stay here,” he replied. He held out a hand and she accepted. “It’s a fair way into the woods,” he continued. “And slightly dangerous.”
Luna smiled. “I’d love to see it, Mr Scamander,” she said.
“Rolf. Call me Rolf. Mr Scamander was my father.” He pointed behind him. “It’s this way,” he said.
Luna followed him through the thickest part of the forest. She jumped over tree stumps, ducked under branches and dodged many plants Rolf told her were potentially poisonous. She followed him blindly, but, she trusted him.
Eventually, he stopped when they reached a small stream. The water flowed freely down the decline, clear and sparkling in what little sunlight there was. Luna saw fish and Plimpies swimming together, not caring that their peacefulness had been disturbed.
She remembered all the times she had gone down to the stream near her place to try and catch the freshwater Plimpies. She would take them back to the house, where she and her father would study them. They never learnt anything from them, but she found the experience enjoyable, nonetheless.
That had been such a long time ago now. Things had changed.
Rolf kneeled by the water’s edge and dipped his hand into the clear water, sending ripples through it.
Luna joined him. “This is lovely,” she said calmly, feeling the coolness of the water seep over her hand.
“I come here often,” Rolf told her. “When I’m not in my cabin, or back in England, I come here. Sometimes I find myself staying here for hours... days, even. It’s so peaceful.”
Luna couldn’t help but agree.
For a while, the only sound that could be heard was the running water. Luna glanced to her right, where Rolf had now dipped his feet into the shallow stream. He was lost in thought, thinking about something even Luna couldn’t work out. He was a busy man; that she knew.
“Sometimes I wish I wasn’t me,” he said eventually, turning to look at her.
“Don’t say that,” Luna replied calmly, coming to join him.
“Sometimes I wish I didn’t love what I do so much so I could stay in one place for more than a few months. I’m getting on in age now if you haven’t noticed and having a family... well, it’s looking less likely to happen.”
Luna wasn’t sure what inspired her to do it, but she moved closer to him, her feet brushing against his in the water. Now that she could see, she noticed the grey edges on his head and the sunken skin forming under his eyes. He was aging, but that seemed to be because of his career and time spent in the sun than his actual age.
“You still have time,” she told him confidently. “Plenty of time.”
Rolf shook his head, letting out a soft sigh. “Maybe,” he said. “Fifty is pushing it, though, don’t you think?”
“You look younger than fifty,” Luna replied.
Rolf laughed. “You’re too kind, Luna,” he said. “Though, there is no need to lie. I have seen myself in the mirror. Dry skin, sunken eyes, greying hair... that’s old.”
“I think you’re rather handsome.” She said it so simply, Rolf seemed lost for words. He stared at her, his mouth partly open in shock. Luna smiled. “I’m not lying,” she added.
It was as if Rolf wanted to say something to her, but instead, he pulled his feet from the water and stood up. “It’s getting dark,” he eventually said. “We should probably head back.”
Luna held out her hand to him, but he didn’t accept. He began to move back the way they had come. He didn’t even bother to tell her to watch out for the night animals that were just starting to emerge from their sleep.
When they arrived back at the cabin, the three other women had returned and were sitting at the table over what looked to be some kind of pie. None of them asked where Luna and Rolf had been and neither of them bothered to share.
Without saying another word, Rolf disappeared through one of the doors and wasn’t seen again until midday the next day.
As hard as Luna tried to get him alone again, he refused. Whenever she came near enough, he would suddenly find another task that needed to be finished. By the time evening came, she was certain he had cleaned the pig’s sty three times and disappeared into the forest to collect wood at least four. She was used to people avoiding her, but she had thought Rolf was different – that he understood her.
Apparently she was wrong.
For the whole time she had spent travelling, she hadn’t stayed in one place for more than three days. She stayed in Rolf’s cabin for a week. It was just so peaceful there, especially when the three other women moved on.
For most of the time, Luna was left alone. She would spend her days trekking into the forest and exploring. She would take pictures and then come back to the cabin to write a letter to her father, telling him about her day.
She mentioned Rolf here and there and once her father wrote back, asking if he should start planning a wedding. Rolf had been standing only a few feet away when she had read that part, watching her curiously as she laughed at her father’s joke.
“My father thinks we should get married,” she said simply and for the first time in days, she saw a gleam in his eyes.
She replied to her father, telling him that Mr Scamander was far too old for her and, although he tried to be nice, he thought she was strange. It wasn’t until Luna left a note on Rolf’s bedroom door, informing him she was planning to move on, on her journey, that he approached her again.
Sweat trickled down his face in the glaring sun, his eyes sunken more so than a week ago. But he still looked at her with the same expression he had when he had first came to her in the forest. He found her interesting, but odd at the same time.
“Where will you go next?” he asked.
Luna shrugged. “Wherever the wind takes me, I suppose,” she answered casually. “I would like to see the mountains in Nepal, maybe.”
Rolf nodded. “You will like it there,” he promised. He seemed to want to say something more, but couldn’t find the words.
Luna waited patiently, until;
“I can take you, if you’d like,” he said. “I know those mountains almost as well as I know this forest. I know some people who live there – some other naturalists.”
Luna smiled up at him, nodding. “That would be lovely,” she answered. “I do get a bit lonely by myself sometimes.”
Rolf’s face remained expressionless. He nodded once to indicate that he had heard and then asked, “Should we leave in the morning?”
Luna nodded again, continuing to smile.
The following morning, Rolf waited on the verandah for Luna to be ready. He seemed a lot brighter – more cheerful – than any other day and Luna found herself wondering if he was glad to be leaving the cabin he once called home.
He rarely smiled, but that morning was one of the exceptions.
“I have organised a Portkey from the nearest town. We will have to Apparate there.” He held out his arm to her. “If you will?”
Luna accepted the arm and a moment later, they were being sucked through a tight tube, their bodies pressed closely together. Just as quickly, they landed on a beach with yellow sand and a clear, blue ocean.
“This way,” Rolf said, heading up the beach. Luna had to run to keep up with him. He stopped in front of a rusted ore that had somehow made its way deep into the trees nearby. “This is it,” he announced. “Ready?”
Luna studied the man in front of her. He was in a hurry; he was always in a hurry. She needed him to slow down. “Rolf,” she began, surprised at how soft her voice was.
He looked at her. “We have two minutes,” she stated.
She approached him with caution, expecting him to retreat the closer she got, but he stood his ground and barely flinched when she ran her hand along his jaw. What had been stubble a week ago was now becoming a beard, but Luna found herself liking the feel of it.
She looked into the deep blue eyes and smiled. And then... she stood on her toes and kissed him. It wasn’t a deep kiss, nor was it very long, but it was a kiss all the more and Rolf looked absolutely perplexed by what had just happened. He didn’t even notice when the ore vanished – they had missed the Portkey.
“Miss Lovegood... I....”
“Luna,” Luna interrupted.
Luna watched him, waiting for him to find the words. She squeezed his hand and he didn’t pull it away.
“I’m... old!” he eventually exclaimed. “And you’re....”
“Old enough to make my own decisions,” Luna told him. “Oh, my father will be so delighted to meet you!” she then added.
She waited a little while longer, until he finally seemed to come around. With one swift movement, he pulled her closer to him and pressed his lips firmly against hers.
Luna hadn’t met many men in her life who wanted to kiss her – or who she had wanted to kiss in return – but Rolf made her feel different. He found her interesting and, although he thought her a bit strange, he accepted that. Not many people did.
She loved many men, but none of them in the way she loved Rolf. He cared about things only she cared about and he saw the world as she did.
And she thought that he might have loved her too. He watched her like he did.