THE LAST TIME THEY SEE EACH OTHER FOR THREE YEARS
LUISA SCAMANDER IS NOW ROLF SCAMANDER (they/them)
Tonks had arranged to meet them by the Charmed Chimera. She would have called out, but Rolf saw her just as she opened her mouth, and they went to each other. “Rolf, it’s so good to see you!”
“You, too.” Rolf embraced her. In the brief moment, Tonks felt the difference of the two years apart, a certain formal firmness. “You look great, as always.”
“As do you. A little different, though. I mean, you dyed your hair black.”
Rolf, who seemed braced for awkwardness, relaxed slightly. “I did. I decided to take a break from color.” They looked down at their plum-colored trousers, bright blue-patterned button-down. “Er, to balance my wardrobe.”
Tonks laughed. “Not having a school uniform has done you well. Not having school, too, for that matter.”
“You’re right, it’s been a whirlwind last couple years. I’ve really enjoyed it—apart from missing you, of course.”
They walked into the pub, ordered some drinks, and sat down at the bar.
Tonks studied them, the familiar dark brown eyes and impeccable jawline. “So what have you been up to?”
“Merlin, I’m not sure where to start. I suppose after the week we said goodbye…” Rolf described their career, from studying in a more academic setting to working directly with creatures both tame and dangerous. They had traveled all over the world, to every continent (even Antarctica) and their career was just beginning to take off.
“And what about you? How’s your Auror training?”
“It’s great, really. I’m training under Mad-Eye Moody. I’m quite shit at stealth and tracking, but as you can imagine, going undercover comes naturally. My final examination is in a month.” Tonks launched into an explanation of the process, happy to see Rolf was genuinely curious. Their discussion about work turned into discussion about life, then, inevitably, love.
“Are you seeing anyone?” asked Rolf, masking their expression by taking a long drink of their pint.
“Not at the moment, no. Haven’t been in a serious relationship. And you?”
“I tend to meet people wherever I travel. In Berlin, where I stayed for six months, I got to know this woman, Antonia, she really transformed how I saw queer culture in Europe.”
Tonks found herself almost more interested in LGBT life in Berlin than Rolf’s brushes with dangerous creatures and scientific breakthroughs. The alcohol was making it harder for her to think critically and come up with questions, so she mostly listened. She couldn’t help thinking that the issues facing those in the community were more pressing than discovering new species.
“…I met a lot of trans folk and found that I could relate to their experiences. At the same time, I was reading a lot of queer literature and history—actually, it’s how I came up with ‘Rolf’. It’s the name of this kickass, gender non-conforming sorcerer. I traced their lineage, and they’re related to me on my father’s side.”
“That’s so cool!” Although Tonks wished she could have been with Rolf through everything, she was more in awe of their experiences, how much they had developed in the past two years.
The two talked late into the evening, moving from bar to bar, the world a blur around them.
Sometime after midnight, Rolf said to Tonks, “I wish I were a Metamorphmagus.”
“It’d make being transgender, gender-nonconforming, genderqueer, whatever so much easier. Changing your body at will…”
“If not by will, how d’you do it?”
“Illusion spells, potions. It varies, whether I want to be physically different or simply change how others perceive me. Hard to tell how many sorcerers are trans with all of the appearance modification methods that exist.”
“Why’d you use ‘sorcerers’?”
“Ah, it’s a gender-neutral term for people with magical abilities that the trans community has adopted. A sort of reversal of traditional English where the male word ‘wizard’ is the root word of ‘wizardry’, ‘wizardkind’, ‘wizarding world’, etc. Sorcerer, on the other hand, is from ‘sorcery’ and doesn’t have the same connotations with gender.”
“Uh huh.” It was hard for Tonks to follow the logic, so she made a mental note to look into it more later.
Rolf looked at Tonks, seemingly struck by an inebriated wave of emotion. “I don’t wanna lead you on. When we were in school…I was naïve, I took advantage of your innocence.”
Tonks gawked at them. “Took advantage of me? I thought I took advantage of you! Using your friendship to get off, get experience, get whatever.”
“So you weren’t interested in girls?”
“It depends, what counts as interest? I didn’t look for relationships with other girls—other people—at school, really, I think because I had all of that with you.”
“I shouldn’t have confused you, then.”
“You didn’t.” Tonks’ buzz blurred the distance between them, and she placed her hand on Rolf’s shoulder. “Don’t make it that simple. I really valued what we had, that we never had to define it.”
“Of course! Rolf, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you thought that way. Look, I’ve been with women since Hogwarts. I haven’t dated women, but I haven’t dated anyone of any gender, for that matter. Even if I had never done anything except with blokes after school, I wouldn’t want you to think you and I didn’t have something real, physically and emotionally.” Tonks downed the last of her drink, then continued, “Seventh year at Hogwarts was one of the best years of my life. Our relationship made it that way.”
Rolf stared at her, their face blotchy. “Merlin, I wish I’d brought this up earlier.”
Tonks’ empathy was on overdrive, so she teared up, too. “I wish so, too. Even though we’ve gone our separate ways, I really care about you, Rolf.”
“I care about you, too, Tonks. Truly.”
The two left the bar, tired and tipsy. It was about two in the morning, and Rolf still had to travel back to Wales. They hugged for a few minutes, sense of time and formality forgotten in the wake of numerous drinks and good company.
When Rolf finally pulled away, they said, “I’ll keep in touch. Stay safe, okay? I want to see you again.”
Tonks nodded. She had kept her attraction at a distance, but now, with the emotion of separation, she wanted to make a grand gesture, do something impulsive, convince Rolf to stay, something.
Rolf felt the pull, too. “A kiss for the road?”
Tonks smiled, tears gathering too soon. They kissed, briefly, but stayed nearly nose to nose.
“One more?” Tonks gripped Rolf’s sleeve for balance.
They leaned into each other, savoring the kiss, aware that it could well be the last, if not forever, for a while. When they finally parted, Tonks had to wipe away her tears. “I will see you again. Two years was far too long.”
“I agree. I’ll be better this time.”