Title: A Long Wait
Warnings: DH and Epilogue compliant
Word Count: 500 (not including the two section breaks)
Characters: Charlie, Luna, and several others
Summary: Life is a long road that diverges many times, but with luck you will end up where you should have been all along.
Charlie noticed her during that hectic year of war. A strange but strong creature, with an appearance that a few minutes’ observation told him hid a razor-sharp intellect and a strong personality, even after the Malfoy dungeons.
He wanted to approach Luna then, while she recuperated at Shell Cottage. But she was so young, even with her war-old eyes.
Then he was floundering, drowning in grief, heart overwhelmed in pain from losing Fred. By the time he learned to keep his head above the floodwaters, she and that Thomas boy were holding hands and Charlie backed away, interests undeclared, unspoken.
The next time he saw her was at the International Magical Creatures Conference. Youthful lines had filled out and her eye’s maturity now matched her face.
He talked to her this time—a passionate discussion on poachers. He left their table at the café only long enough to fetch their coffees, but when he returned his seat was taken by that charmer, Rolf Scamander. Her eyes sparkled and she blushed becomingly. Charlie’s heart flopped to the floor.
He set the coffees on the table. Scamander didn’t even deign to glance at him, even as Charlie murmured some excuse. Luna’s hand was soft on his arm but she didn’t protest, so he left as quietly and unobtrusively as he could.
“Come on, Lysander, put some muscle into it, mate,” Charlie said, clapping the apprentice on the shoulder.
The youth pulled a face at him. “Come on, Charlie, put some muscle into it,” he mocked, tossing the older man another shovel. Silver Lovegood eyes glittered under dark Scamander hair, and sweat was a sheen across the tanned back and chest.
It was Charlie’s turn to grimace, but he peeled off his own shirt, joining his apprentice in preparing the newest hatching ground of the Romanian Reserve, where he was Head Keeper. His dragon tattoo, situated comfortably on his shoulder, shifted and stretched in the sunlight.
Work was interrupted by the arrival of Luna, dressed in a flowered sundress and clashing dragonhide boots. Still quite the independent character, Charlie thought with a pang of pained fondness.
“Mum!” Lysander greeted his mother with a peck on the cheek.
“Go on,” Charlie told him. “Get cleaned up so you can take your mum somewhere nice.” Luna didn’t get to visit often, and he knew that her son missed her.
They lapsed to an awkward silence after Lysander departed, pained could-have-should-have-would-have-beens littering the ground between them, unspoken and ignored. Shuffling his feet, Charlie looked her over and realized her ring was finally gone, two years after Rolf’s death.
“How long you here for?” he asked curiously.
“Three weeks,” she answered in that imperturbable way of hers.
“Maybe we could get together, catch up sometime,” he suggested and was shocked when she smiled brilliantly at him.
“Asking me on a date, Charlie?” Forthright as always, he noticed as he blushed faintly. Luna stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. “It’s about time. I’ve been waiting long enough.”
A/N: Took forever to trim down the word count, but I finally got it there!