But I don't think I'm ready yet
Not feeling up to it now
Just not that steady yet
And I don't need you telling me how
"Not Ready Yet" by Eels
Luna was star-gazing. Just to avoid having to meet anyone's eyes. Her own glided from Orion to Sagittarius to the tops of the high Gothic windows that faded into the night sky. The Great Hall was especially noisy tonight. Bits of food flying here and there. She supposed it had something to do with that Harry Potter getting his name pulled out of the Goblet of Fire. The Hufflepuffs were scowling.
The werewolf was probably behind it all. Yes, he would want to take revenge on Professor Snape for revealing his secret. Professor Snape hated Harry; you could see the energy exploding in his eyes whenever they looked at each other. Professor Snape was a man of fire. Luna liked him. She spent his class throwing whatever she wanted into her potions. Every now and then, she'd think she'd created something. She'd found something. She sometimes thought she was experimenting. Then she'd realize it was impossible. She knew it was impossible. But she only half believed it. She'd figure it out someday. What exactly she wasn't sure. Two years and two months or so of trying hadn't left her with nothing… If holding on was unhealthy, she wanted to be sick. Sick as a pig.
As her eyes started to slide back into focus, she realized she was peering intently into the face of a boy at the Gryffindor table. He was looking at her. Looking at her quite strangely. Luna had seen this boy before, she was sure of it. He normally had a very confused or very worried look on his face, but now it was a mixture of both with just a hint of of wonderment. Luna stared more deeply into his face, wanting to study the crevices and shapes that made up this new expression. She traced the little crease between his eyebrows(or, rather, the 20 feet of air between the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw tables) with her right index finger, and wondered if it would feel particularly bumpy. As she did this, the boy's face crossed over from confused/worried/wonderment to confused/worried/frightened, and he turned away. Luna went back to stargazing.
Neville wasn't sure. Then again, he never really was, ever. The weird blonde girl had been staring at him all through dinner. He wondered, nervously, what that meant. Neville didn't understand most(or rather, any) girls, but that girl wasn't most girls, if half of what he had heard was true. She was looking up at the ceiling again. Neville looked up too, just in case there was something important up there he had missed. He could never be too careful. But there was nothing there- just stars. He shook his head slightly. As he did this, his gaze fell on Harry and Ron, who were glaring daggers at each other. Hermione was watching them anxiously. Fred and George were sitting next to her, telling jokes to Ginny, who would alternately giggle like a small child or say something snarky of her own.
"What did the leper say to the prostitute?" Fred smirked.
"Oh God, I don't want to know," Ginny said, rolling her eyes.
"Keep the tip," the twins said in unison.
"Oh Christ," Ginny snorted. "That's it. I'm off."
"Please don't go; you'll miss the excellent one about the lonely muggle woman and the rapidly backfiring wand."
"No! That's disgusting!" But she smiled as turned and walked away.
"Hermione!" Fred rounded on her, grinning broadly. "Would you like to hear the excellent one about the lonely muggle woman and the rapidly backfiring wand?"
"Not now, Fred," she said softly, and muttered something like "four essays to write" and practically sprinted to the library.
Neville looked down at his half-eaten treacle tart. The smell of it was suddenly overpowering. He stared at it until he was tired enough to justify wanting to go back to the dormitories so early. He got up from the table and slowly walked towards Gryffindor tower. He made sure not to lift his feet to far off the ground: he didn't want to get there too fast.
"Oi, Longbottom." Draco Malfoy. Neville eyed him warily. "How much do you wanna bet Potter's sucking Dumbledore's cock for house points?"
Neville blinked slowly, trying to think of a clever rebuttal. He settled on "Piss off, Malfoy" and walked on.
There weren't very many people in the Gryffindor common room. Just a few seventh years, and one second year. All were doing what appeared to be Transfiguration homework. None of them looked up when he climbed through the portrait hole. After all, he was only Neville. He trudged up the spiral staircase to the boy's dormitories and promptly threw himself onto his bed. He seemed to have landed on something rather lumpy… Neville shot up, fearing the worst: giant cockroaches, shrunken heads, whatever Fred and George had been working on lately(this prospect was by far the most frightening) all passed before his mind's eye. He took a deep breath, shut his eyes, and threw back the covers. It was only Trevor. Neville collapsed on his bed, breathing heavily and suddenly aware of how cold and sweaty he was. But the others were coming back…
"Blimey, Neville, look at the state of you," Dean Thomas said. "Do you have a fever or something?"
"No, no…" said Neville. "Just getting into bed…"
And he climbed into bed, carefully maneuvering around Trevor the toad.