Luna sat at the table reading the post. She smiled dreamily, then called out to her son, "Bertram?"
"Yes, Mother?" came the ten year old boy's voice, as he appeared at her side and looked at her expectantly.
"Grandfather Xenophilius wrote to tell us he's finally re-built his home, and wants us to come see it. Would you like to go?"
Bertram nodded excitedly. "And we'll be close to the Weasleys, right, Mother? Can we stop and visit? Maybe Hugo and Rose will be there!"
"Certainly," Luna said, "Now, if you're ready, we'll side-along Apparate. Here we go!"
"Daddy!" Luna cried, flinging herself into her father's arms. "You've done a wonderful job with the house! It's so nice to see it built up again!"
"Ahh, Luna, dear, I agree. Where's Bertram? Didn't he come?"
"Yes, Grandad! I'm right here!" spoke a young blond boy, come from exploring the kitchen.
"This is such a neat place. I can't believe, Mother, that you lived in a chess-piece shaped house!"
"It's all about individuality, son, individuality," Xenophilius told his grandson.
Xenophilius led his daughter and grandson inside. The boy trotted happily from room to room, quietly amusing himself while the grown-ups talked. Then they settled down in the kitchen for lunch.
After about twenty minutes, however, Bertram started fidgeting a little.
“Have you Antilliorts in your shirt?” asked the old man concernedly.
“No,” replied Bertram, his gaze flicking to the open window. “I just want to go and play…”
“Ah, I was the same when I was a lad.” Xenophilius’ smile became dreamy and wistful. “Could never sit still. Always wanted to be moving. That’s a Lovegood trait, my boy.”
Xenophilius and Luna, deep in debate over the elasticity of Gernoblie droppings did not notice Bertram swinging his legs under the table, eyes fixed on the window. Laughing voices carried across the orchard, and Bertram couldn't take it any longer. "Oh, Mother, can't I go play, too?"
"I suppose so," she said. "But I'm not sure the Gernoblies would understand if you showed up without an invitation."
"No, Mother, the Weasleys! Can't you hear them?"
"Other way, around, Hugo! The tail goes behind you!" Ron Weasley's laughing voice rose above the tumult.
Hermione Weasley cried frantically, "Don't fall! Oh please, don't fall!"
Luna cocked her head to the side, listening intently. "It sounds like the Weasleys are trying to teach their children to ride a bindlewurdle. It is notoriously difficult to determine the head from the tail, is it not?" she asked her father.
Her father nodded sagely. "Right you are, Luna. Why, I remember one time - "
Bertram, who knew how these remembrances went, politely interrupted.
"I believe the Weasleys are teaching Hugo to fly a broom! Can I learn, too, Mother? It might not be as exciting as riding a thestral like you did, but I think it would be fun!"
"Well, Bertram, I'm sure they wouldn’t mind," his Mother told him. "But, we did come to visit your grandfather, did we not?"
"Oh, yes, Mother, I know – though Grandfather, you wouldn't mind, would you?"
"No, I daresay I would not. It's about time you learned how to ride a broom, son. Luna, send over an owl, just to be polite about it."
"Oh, I'll send a Patronus, Daddy. They're much quicker."
Well, Luna, whatever it is that works for you." Looking over to his squirming grandson, he added, "But, hurry, I do believe that Bertram has Antilliorts in his shorts."
Bertram watched as his mother’s silvery hare darted off into the distance. He then tried to distract himself by counting the number of seashells that had been glued around the room.
He had counted one hundred and twenty-four shells when a reply came in the shape of an otter.
“Of course, Luna. You’re welcome any time! See you in a few minutes.”
Bertram hopped happily to his feet, a grin spreading across his face. He had never flown before, and was looking forward to learning immensely.
“Make sure you watch out for Conipurses,” warned Xenophilius as they said their goodbyes.
"Mother . . . I don't have a broom!"
Luna slipped her free arm, the one not burdened with her onion-shaped handbag, around his shoulders. "Don't worry, Bertram! I never had a broom, but Ron and Hermione still played with me!"
Bertram reached for his Mother's hand, and they clambered over the hill.
Ron, Hugo and Rose were tentatively hovering a few feet above the ground. "You see, you don't need to lean hard against it- you'll fall off! Just ease in that direction, the broom will know what you want to do."
"This old thing?" Hugo asked scathingly. "The Firebolt is ancient, Dad!"
"Hi, Bertram!" Rose waved happily. Unfortunately, when she did that, she lost her balance on the broom and promptly fell off. Hugo looked like he was about to laugh until he caught his mother's stern eye.
"Ron, I told you this wasn't a good idea!" Hermione huffed, running over to help up Rose.
"She's fine, Hermione. Hello, Luna! Hi, Bertram! I've got a broom for you here, Bertram, if you'd like to try it out," Ron said invitingly.
"I'd love to!" Bertram said, as Hugo's face lit up with excitement.
"Could you teach us to play Quidditch, Dad?" he asked.
"Yes, Daddy, please?" urged Rose.
"Yes, I'll teach you how to play Quidditch! But, first, why don't we show Bertram how to mount and start flying?"
For the next twenty minutes, they showed Bertram how to mount, and get in the air. Everyone fell off a few times, but it was all in good fun. By the time it was possible for them to stay in the air for a half-decent length of time, Hermione had brought out one of the old Quaffles.
"Hermione, the Quaffle please!" yelled Ron, from about fifteen feet in the air.
Hermione tossed the Quaffle and Ron snatched it neatly from the air. Then he turned to face the children.
“Right, we need to lay down the rules before we start,” he said. “It’s all against all, so you’re playing for yourself. You need to get the Quaffle, fly down the orchard and get it through that hoop.” He pointed at a rickety looking wooden ring at the far end of the orchard.
“But no elbows!” Hermione interjected. “And no Wonky Faints either. I don’t want anyone getting hurt!” Her gaze swivelled to her son, who was smirking behind his hand.
"I'll count to three, throw the quaffle in the air, and then it's all for all!" Ron centered himself among them. "One ... Two ... THREE!"
Bertram urged his broom forward as the Quaffle hit him in the face, Hugo shot straight into a tree, and Rose fell off the side of her broom to the ground below.
"ROSE! Are you all right?" Hermione cried. "I knew this was a bad idea, I just knew it!"
"She's all right, Hermione," Luna said reassuringly. "She only dropped five feet or so- that's not even far enough to break her Snidelly Bone!"
Bertram helped Rose onto her broom. "Hold on tight and don't lean to the side. You can do it," he said kindly.
Rose smiled tremulously as she hovered by his side. He got the Quaffle, tossing it to her. Surprised, she managed to hold onto it and the broom.
"Go!" Bertram urged. Imitating her father, she flattened a bit towards her broom, making it go a mite faster towards the hoop. She started to wobble, then threw the ball at the hoop.
Hugo swooped out of nowhere and caught it.
"Hey!" yelled Rose loudly, "That's not fair! Daaad!"
Ron flew over to his daughter. "Yes it is, Rosie. It looks like Hugo wants to play Keeper. Is that right, son?"
"Keeper? What's that?" the young boy asked.
"The person who tries to stop the Quaffle from going in the hoops. Each team has one," replied Luna from the ground.
"Yeah, I'll play Keeper and stop all the goals!" Hugo boasted to Rose.
"But Dad!" Rose whined, looking at her father. "That makes it harder!"
"Well, Rose, isn't it the point of all games for them to be hard? If they were too easy, would they be fun?"
Rose pouted and steadied herself on the Firebolt, still glaring at her brother.
"You can do it, Bertram!" Luna called supportingly. "Remember what I said about Loser's Lurgy!"
Bertram nodded and squared off; Ron threw the Quaffle high in the air. Bertram sped forward, overtaking Rose easily and snatching the ball from the air. He hurtled toward the hoop, gaining speed; Hugo's eyes widened as Bertram threw the Quaffle as hard as he could-
"SCORE!" Ron shouted appreciatively. "Hugo, you're supposed to block the goal post!"
Hugo blushed, and Rose laughed scathingly. Bertram grinned, retrieving the Quaffle.
"They won't be so lucky next time!" Hugo blustered, going to guard the hoop once more.
Bertram smiled at Rose. "Think we can take him?" he asked. She nodded confidently, saying, "Let's go!"
Bertram gently tossed her the Quaffle. She snatched it neatly, flying towards Hugo. She sped up and Hugo's smirk vanished.
"I forgot how to stop!" she wailed, and Hugo zoomed away from the goal.
"Just kidding!" she laughed, dropping the Quaffle through the hoop.
"Score! Ten points to Rose!" Ron chortled.
"Hugo has definitely picked up some of your Keeper abilities, Ron," Luna remarked, beaming.
"Of course he has," boasted Ron.
Hermione laughed. "I think he has, Ron, yes! But watch them up there, they might fall!"
"They're doing great, Hermione, calm down!" he assured his wife, before turning his back and flying over to fetch the Quaffle.
Bertram and Rose faced each other whilst Hugo hovered uncertainly in front of the goal posts.
Ron flew below Bertram and Rose and threw up the Quaffle. They both flew towards it; Hermione closed her eyes.
Bertram got to the Quaffle first and turned, throwing Rose off. He sped towards the net, thinking he had lost her.
Hugo gritted his teeth and determinedly blocked the hoop as Bertram approached.
"C'mon, Hugo! Show him what you're made of!" Ron yelled urgently.
"You can do it, Bertram!" Luna called.
"Be careful, boys!" Hermione shouted above both of them.
Hugo held his breath, his eyes fixed on the Quaffle under Bertram's arm. Bertram flattened his broom, picking up speed; he reared back to throw the Quaffle-
"Ha!" Rose flew up from beneath him and snatched the ball clean from his hand.
"WATCH OUT!" Hugo yelled, but Bertram looked up a second too late- and everything went black.
Bertram opened his eyes. "What happened?"
"You collided with the hoop," Hugo said. "You need to quit?"
"No way," Bertram said. "This is my first Quidditch game - I want to finish it right. Whoever gets the Golden Snitch wins, correct? Can we try to catch it?" he asked.
Hermione nodded, holding up the enchanted Snitch that would move slower and reappear faster. "Ready?"
She let go. It vanished, then reappeared. Hugo raced towards it, Rose and Bertram following. The three were soon neck and neck. Rose gave a wild shriek of excitement, holding the Snitch. She won the Quidditch match!