Rolf had always been determined to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Newt Scamander, and carry on his research of magical creatures. From a young age, he had loved to sit on his grandfather’s lap and listen to his tales about traveling and living with the animals. It was his dream to do so as well. However, fate was cruel and threw a nasty stumbling block in his path. He was terribly allergic to animals. Furred or feathered, even finned or scaled, they made his eyes water and his nose run and caused long bouts of sneezing that brought on nosebleeds and fits of hiccuping. His throat would close up and breathing became difficult and depending on the animal exposed to, he would sometimes break out into colored spots and itchy rashes.
His parents had tried countless spells and potions on him. He was seen by many experts, but nothing they tried worked. Rolf took potions to lessen the symptoms, but nothing really stopped his reactions. Despite his love of animals, he was never allowed near them. He wasn’t even allowed to play with children who owned pets. Just standing near a pet owner would set him off. Almost every witch and wizard owned a pet of some kind, be it a cat, crup or mail owl, and there were countless animals roaming outdoors so he was often confined in the house for his own safety. He could only gaze at the animals he loved from behind the glass of the windows and read about them in books.
Even Hogwarts, the most prestigious magic school in Britain, the school his Grandfather had once worked at, was off limits to him. There were so many cats, owls and toads and whatever menagerie the Care of Magical Creatures professor had on hand that it was impossible for him to attend. He was forced to stay at home when the few friends he had left for that wondrous place. He was stuck inside with various tutors. With not much to do but learn, he threw himself wholeheartedly into his studies, most especially the animals he loved, despite his inability to get close to them. His grandfather encouraged his interest by sending him books and handwritten notes and drafts of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Rolf was determined to become a Magizoologist despite the odds. No matter what, he would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. He had done just that. Even though it had been a long, hard road, he’d successfully graduated from University to become a Magizoologist. That’s why it was so devastating to learn that his Grandfather, who was getting old and had retired from field research long ago, had hired a young female Magizoologist to act as a field agent. Rolf almost could have handled the decision, but he’d decided to look into the girl.
“Grandfather!” Rolf cried, waving a scroll over his head. “What is this madness? This can hardly be called research. It’s all wild speculation about a fictitious creature that lives in Mistletoe! There is no such thing as a Nargle!”
Newt Scamander sat quietly at his desk and watched his grandson rant. “Rolf, please calm down,” his grandfather said soothingly.
“I will not calm down! I looked into her, this Luna Lovegood. He family owns The Quibbler, that idiotic rag that keeps running stories about Crumple-Horned Whatevers and Blibbering Blimpy Things! How can you allow someone who makes up creatures to do research for you? Your credibility will be ruined!” Rolf paced his Grandfather’s study, waving his hands as he ranted.
“I am aware of her ties with The Quibbler, but she has grown and comes with a very fine resume.”
“Resume? You mean name-dropping list of friends? So what if she knows Harry Potter? I don’t care if she knows Merlin himself, you simply cannot hire her.” Rolf announced vehemently.
“But I already have,” his grandfather replied patiently.
“Then I shall fire her!”
His grandfather shook his head. “That is not a call for you to make.”
“It is! I am the next Scamander that will take on your book. I am protecting your legacy Grandfather!”
“Don’t be foolish,” Newt said as he got to his feet, but his grandson had already stormed from the room. He sighed. “Don’t do anything stupid,” he said to the empty air.
Luna was beyond thrilled. She had managed to attain her dream job, field researcher for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She’d had a lovely meeting with Newt Scamander and was eager to get back to her flat to inform her friends. When she stepped into the front door, she was surprised to find the small flat she shared with Hannah stuffed with people. She scanned the crowd curiously, identifying the people. Hannah, Neville, Harry, Ginny, Ron, Susan, Ernie, Hermione, and Terry. Most of them were standing. Sitting room was at a premium in the flat.
Hannah surged forward. “Well? How did it go?” She asked eagerly.
“Yeah, don’t keep us waiting,” Ron called from where he perched on the arm of their chair. Harry and Ginny were squashed into the seat of the chair, nodding eagerly.
Luna smiled. “I am hired,” she announced, eliciting a cheer.
Hannah hopped forward to hug her enthusiastically. “That’s great! Congratulations!”
“Thank you.” Luna hugged her back. “We had a wonderful conversation about Crumple-Horned Snorcacks.”
“Err, those are the things that aren’t real...right?” Neville asked, standing slightly behind Hannah.
“Correct,” Luna said brightly.
“And you discussed them with the famous Newt Scamander?” Hermione asked, shocked. She had never been one to believe Luna’s stories of fantastic creatures and always hated to listen to her talk about them. Hermione was clearly horrified at the thought of Luna discussing fictitious creatures with such a prestigious man as Newt Scamander.
Of course, that only amused Luna and she nodded. “Yes, he was very interested in them and impressed with my hunt for them. He said that that sort of dedication is exactly what he is looking for.”
“That’s great that your make believe animals help you get jobs hunting for real ones,” Terry said.
“Yes, but isn’t it funny that a society that thrives on magic, something that is fantastic and wondrous, is so skeptical? We live in a world of things that muggles only dream of. Without any proof, they believe in and yearn for these things. They retain a curiosity about their world and how things work and constantly strive to learn. I like to think that I am like a muggle, open to suggestions and willing to learn the truth, be it for or against my beliefs,” Luna explained.
Hermione nodded approvingly. “Well said, Luna.”
“Oi, aren’t you the one always telling us Luna’s creatures don’t exist Miss Skeptical?” Ron called over to her.
“I prefer having proof of things,” Hermione snapped, blushing fiercely.
“Did you have proof of magic before Hogwarts? Did you even believe it existed?” Ron prodded.
“Leave off Ron,” Terry said. “This is why you don’t have the pleasure of dating her anymore. You act like an annoying sibling.”
Terry pulled Hermione closer and smiled at her while Ron turned red with embarrassment. Harry patted Ron’s back, clearly amused but sympathetic. A knock on the door turned Luna’s attention away from the scene. She wondered who else they were expecting and moved to open it. She didn’t recognize the handsome young man on the doorstep. He had dark brown hair and hazel eyes and a rather pale complexion. He squinted at her and frowned.
“Luna Lovegood?” He asked.
“Yes, that’s me.”
“I’m afraid I have bad news for you,” he said.
She tilted her head. “That’s a terribly unusual name,” Luna replied. “Is it South American?”
“What? No!” He cried, flustered. “My name is Rolf Scamander.”
“Ah!” She brightened. “Mr. Scamander’s grandson. It’s so lovely to meet you.”
“Likewise,” he said, nodding awkwardly. “But really, I have bad news for you.”
“Oh, your grandfather hasn’t taken off looking for crumple-horned snorcacks has he?” She asked, concerned.
Rolf frowned. “No.”
“Well that’s good. He was terribly interested in them,” she said breezily.
“They don’t exist,” Rolf replied flatly.
“Yes, I know, but we should not let the questionable existence of creatures prevent us from searching for them.”
Rolf lifted an eyebrow and coughed. “Yes, well, about that bad news. I’m afraid that you’re fired.”
There was a collective gasp from inside the flat and Rolf looked up, realizing that they had an audience. He stiffened up further.
“Could you say that again?” Luna requested. “I’m not quite sure I understand.”
“There has been a mistake. We don’t need a researcher, so you are fired.”
“What?!” Came a cry from inside the flat, which led to a fierce eruption of whispers that made Rolf shift nervously.
“I see,” Luna said softly. “Well, if my services will not be required. I think this will be an excellent opportunity to go looking for Moon Frogs.” Her voice took on volume as she spoke, trying to convince herself that the words were true. She gave Rolf Scamander a smile that felt like a grimace and promptly shut the door in his face.
It was a very hard thing to turn around to face her friends. Her eyes were watering fiercely as she said, “It appears that my announcement of my impending employment is false. I’m terribly sorry that you all came out for nothing. If you’ll excuse me, I have a trip to pack for.” Without waiting to hear their reactions, she quickly slipped down the hallway and into her room.
Newt Scamander was standing at a table looking into some curious contraption when Rolf returned. “Grandfather, what is that?”
The elder Scamander looked up. “Rolf. This is a microscope.”
“What does it do?” He approached the table, looking at the contraption curiously.
“It is like a telescope, but instead of looking at the stars, you look at things that are very tiny and often not visible to the naked eye. Come, look.” He moved aside and gestured to the microscope.
Rolf was hesitant, but finally bent over and looked into the microscope.
“What do you see?” Newt prompted.
Rolf frowned. There were small green dots moving around. “Bugs?”
“Keep looking,” Newt prompted as he tapped the microscope with his wand, causing the view to change.
Rolf gasped as the creatures became bigger. “What are these?” He asked, now clearly able to see the six-legged creatures scuttling around side-ways.
“Nargles,” Newt said.
Rolf pulled back and stared at his grandfather. “I thought they didn’t exist!”
“And that is where you were wrong. As you can see, they certainly exist and young Miss Lovegood has done some excellent research on them. Research that I would like to include in the next edition of the book.”
“But...if they really do exist, why haven’t we heard of them before?” Rolf demanded.
“Have you ever heard of a microscope before?” Newt asked.
“That is why. While certainly we have magnification spells, most wizards do not even know one, let alone cast them with any sort of regularity. Magic is both a blessing and a curse. It makes many things possible for wizards, but I am afraid that it often kills natural curiosity such as the desire to look deeper into our own world. Miss Lovegood has not lost her natural curiosity and while she may be quite naive, it is not the negative trait you seem to it to believe. We need people like Miss Lovegood to push through discoveries such as Nargles,” Newt explained.
Rolf was speechless. He stared at his grandfather and then looked back at the microscope.
“Now tell me,” Newt continued. “What did you tell Miss Lovegood?”
Rolf’s eyes snapped back to his grandfather and he flushed. “I...I told her that she was fired.”
Newt sighed. “You are so impetuous. Could you not have phrased it better? If you had to dismiss her, you could have at least been kind about it. She has done nothing to warrant such behavior from you.”
“I am sorry Grandfather. I...” Rolf trailed off.
“I know. You were afraid that I was replacing you. However, that is not the case. That could never be the case. I know that you love Magizoology. I, myself, encouraged that love in you. However, I realize that you will have certain difficulties doing what you love and I was hoping to ease the way for you by providing you with an excellent researcher. She is not a replacement. She is intended to be your valuable asset. If she is not your valuable asset, she will become somebody else’s. She will publish about her nargles and anything else she discovers in other places. That, more than anything, will damage my legacy if the book that I entrusted to my grandson cannot keep up with current discoveries. Do you now see why I have done what I’ve done?” Newt put a hand on his grandson’s shoulder and squeezed it tightly.
Rolf stared at his grandfather’s carpet as the truth slowly spread out before him. His grandfather had been thinking about his legacy after all. He’d been trying to take care of him as well and he’d only gotten angry at him and flew off the broom handle. “I’m sorry Grandfather,” he said quietly.
“It is not me that you must apologize to. It is Miss Lovegood.”
Rolf swallowed. “But...I fired her.”
“Then you will unfire her. Go quickly. You must fix this now.”
Luna Lovegood was a very hard person to unfire. Rolf had quickly returned to her flat where he'd been glared at by her friends. Having the infamous Hogwarts heroes staring him down had made him distinctly uncomfortable. After all, they had been fierce fighters during the war. Unfortunately, Luna was not around to save him from their angry glares and harsh words. She'd quickly packed a bag and left, telling her roommate only that she'd be home in a month.
Rolf had returned home feeling like an idiot, but his grandfather had not allowed him to wallow in his misery. He’d insisted that they couldn't wait a month for her to return. He instructed Rolf to find her. Unwilling to go against his wishes, Rolf had returned to Luna’s flat once more to get more details on where she might have gone.
“She didn't say where she was going! She only mentioned Moon Frogs,” Hannah had told him, clearly annoyed at his reappearance.
Unfortunately, as far as Rolf knew, Moon Frogs did not exist. He wasn't sure how one went about tracking down Moon Frogs. Hannah had taken pity on him and sent him off to Luna's father, Xenophilius Lovegood.
“Ah, Luna has gone to search for Moon Frogs,” Mr. Lovegood had informed him. “I know she's been doing intensive research on them. She said that she's finally determined their location.”
When asked if he knew where that was, Mr. Lovegood had shrugged. “She said ‘All good journeys begin with a change. This journey just happened to begin with a particularly big and unsettling one.’ You see, she was very disappointed that her dream job was so soon snatched away from her. It's not unusual for her to go off on these hunts. The best way to find her is to follow her research trail and see where it leads.”
That was how Rolf found himself to be elbow deep in thick tomes, various Quibbler articles, and a basket of things Mr. Lovegood decided would be helpful in tracking down Luna. “It will be good if you get to know her, know how she thinks. Otherwise, your search will be quite hopeless,” he'd cheerfully announced as he shoved the large basket into Rolf's arms and pushed him out the door.
At home Rolf poked around in the basket and found some sketches of Moon Frogs that all wildly contradicted each other, a few muggle notebooks filled with notes, a chocolate frog, a pamphlet for Cleansweep brooms, and a few coins jingling around at the bottom. He pulled out the coins, but he didn't recognize the currency. They were the size of a sickle and there was a crescent moon with a number which he assumed to be the denomination on one side. The other side had a face. He wondered where the coins were from and turned to the notebooks for some clue. The notebooks read more like strange rambling diaries than research notes. Luna had made shadings of the coins, but the notes didn't seem to indicate where they were from, they merely mentioned having dinner at Neville's house and the wonderful stuffed vulture on his grandmother's hat.
At first, Rolf found the notes infuriating. They wound from topic to topic speaking of weather one minute and then shifting to make very astute observations on various people or animals. It was amongst notes about Luna’s surprise at Hermione Granger leaving Ron Weasley for Terry Boot and a scribbled recipe for an Egyptian sugar scrub that he saw sparkles of her talent for Magizoology. She was clever and passionate and even her daily observations on things of no relation to animals were quite interesting and insightful. Suddenly, he felt a strong eagerness to meet Luna and discuss her notes and various thoughts on things. He only had to find her first and while her notes were fascinating, he still couldn't glean the clues necessary to figure out where she'd gone.
He combed through the long dry tomes and read through the Quibbler articles multiple times. He even went so far as to owl some of the sources (with the help of his grandfather, owls made him sneeze terribly), grilling them for new information on the Moon Frog, but still, answers eluded him. After a week or searching, he was about ready to hex himself rather than re-read the thick text of moon lore spread out in front of him one more time. His grandfather's appearance with tea was a welcome distraction.
“I cannot find her! None of this stuff is helping me,” he said, running his fingers through his dark hair in frustration.
“Perhaps it is time that you approach the problem from a different angle,” his grandfather suggested, dropping a sugar cube into his tea.
Rolf sighed. “Her father said something similar. I’m certain that I've looked at it frontward and backward and upside down.” His spoon clinked angrily against the side of his teacup as he stirred in three sugar cubes.
“Miss Lovegood has quite the unique outlook on life. If you are approaching the problem as yourself, perhaps you should instead approach the problem as she would,” he said.
“While I've come to realize that she is as talented as you suggested, her habit to fall victim to distractions and wander off topic is hard for me to interpret, let alone recreate.” Rolf sullenly sipped his tea. “I feel like I've gotten to know her a bit, but not enough.”
“Are you sure that the notes are wandering off topic? In her mind, those things may be relevant.”
“I suppose I could ask her friends about some of the incidents she makes reference too, but I'm not sure they'll even see me. They were rather angry with what I did.”
“With good reason to be,” Newt pointed out.
“Yes, with very good reason.” Rolf sighed. “I'm sorry that I flew off the broom handle.”
“I wish you hadn't, but I am pleased that you are attempting to fix your mistakes. I would be more disappointed if you didn't bother to do so.”
“I realize I was an idiot. I wish I hadn't been. The more I learn of Luna, the more I want to speak with her. “
His grandfather smiled at him. “Yes, I thought that might be the case.”
Rolf's break came when he visited Neville Longbottom. Neville's grandmother collected coins and was able to identify the coins with the moon on them. She had identified them for Luna during a friendly meal and suddenly Luna’s notes made a bit more sense.
“They're from the Isle of Skye in Scotland,” Neville told him
“Wouldn't they use muggle money then?” Rolf asked.
“Oh, no, not the Isle of Skye on the ground. The Isle of Skye got its name from a floating island that hovers above it. That’s the true Isle of Skye. It's very isolated. An ancient clan of Gaelic druids inhabits the isle. It's protected by all sorts of old magics. There's supposed to be only one place that you can apparate onto the island and flying there is difficult because of its altitude and the winds around the island. Actually, now that I think about it, I bet that’s where Luna went to look for Moon Frogs. There was a wizard in Scotland who ended up with a bag of the frogs after going to the moon, or so he claimed. He probably managed to fly to the Isle of Skye to collect them.”
Despite having not a single inclination towards kissing men, in that moment, Rolf almost felt that he could kiss Neville. Of course, he didn’t, but that’s how happy he was to finally get such a wonderful lead. After thanking Neville profusely, he ran home to make almost frantic arrangements to travel to the Isle of Skye.
He was checking through his bags when his grandfather poked his head into his room. “Getting ready to go?”
Rolf looked up and nodded. “Yes, I think I have everything.”
“Why so many bags?” Newt walked in and prodded at his grandson’s various pieces of luggage.
“If I do go and there are Moon Frogs, I think that I should help her research them,” he explained. “So I have everything I think I’ll need.”
“And a bit more,” Newt said, amused. “In my day, we didn’t have all this fancy stuff to travel with.” He picked up something he couldn’t identify and fiddled with it.
“Yes, well, it’s my day now Grandfather.” Rolf rescued his equipment from his grandfather.
Newt nodded. “I hope it is a good day then. Let us hope you are not allergic to Moon Frogs.”
“Let us hope not,” Rolf agreed. He would be quite upset if the frogs made him sneeze or break out into purple spots.
“Don’t worry too much my boy. Go after her now and worry about it later.” Newt patted his grandson on the back.
As soon as Rolf got his bags shrunk to something more manageable, he took out the coin that he’d had made into a portkey and began his journey to the Isle of Skye.
“Then what happened Daddy?”
“I landed knee-deep in a cold pond. Your mum was standing on the shore with a net. She looked at me and said, ‘You don’t look like a Moon Frog.’”
The twins burst into giggles and rolled around on the floor as if they hadn’t heard the story dozens of times before. But it was one of their favorite stories and he never could deny them. The boys had inherited his own dark hair but they shared their mother’s silvery gray eyes, eyes he had trouble saying no to.
“And then he began to sneeze most terribly,” Luna said from the doorway. She smiled at her husband in his favorite chair and their children rolling around on the lovely Persian rug they picked up during their travels.
Rolf turned to her and smiled ruefully. “Yes, but you managed to save me from that part.” He held his hand out to her and she walked into the room to take his hand.
“It wasn’t me. The druids took care of that nasty curse,” Luna said, smiling down at him. “Someone put a curse on your father. It was quite insidious, seizing upon natural allergies and inflating them so he was sensitive to just about everything. We think another Magizoologist was trying to end the tradition of Scamander Zoologists.”
“But that didn’t happen. You saved me and introduced me to muggle magic,” Rolf insisted kissing his wife’s hand.
Luna laughed and shook her head. “I introduced you to antihistamines. And it’s not muggle magic, it’s called science. You know Hermione would have your head for calling it that.”
Rolf laughed. “I shall be sure to keep Mrs. Boot far away from my head.”
“Be sure that you do. I rather like your head where it is.” Luna ran her fingers through her husband’s dark hair.
“Me too,” Lysander and Lorcan piped up in unison.
“Ah, but the two of you have such questionable tastes in things. You always prefer to hear the story about how horrible I was to your mother instead of the story about our discovery of desert-dwelling fire lizards or something exciting like that,” Rolf said.
“That’s not true daddy. We have good tastes! We only like brilliant things,” Lysander insisted, climbing up his father’s knee.
“Yes. Brilliant things, like nose goblins!” Lorcan said, scrambling onto his father’s other knee.
Rolf made a face. “That is also a discovery I am not terribly fond of.”
Luna smiled. “The boys just enjoy the whole story, not just the happy ending where we marry and they are born. They like to follow it from the beginning and teeter at the edge of their seats as you fire me and wait nervously as you search for me and then finally cheer as we are reunited.”
“Well,” Rolf said, wrapping his arms around his sons. “When you put it that way, I can only compliment them on their excellent taste in stories. I’m not sure the story would have been as interesting if I hadn’t fired her. It might have had a different ending, but I like this one the best.”
“And we all lived happily ever after,” Luna said.