Disclaimer: Um, the usual. Don't own squat.
Author's note: I don't know what I was thinking here...I had a cup of hot (British) tea and suddenly...I felt like I got my ability to write back! So, of course, I had to write something insane and cliché. Also. UNBETAED!
Summary: During a skirmish with Death Eaters her sixth year at Hogwarts, Luna is hit by an especially strange curse. Will true love save the day? NLLL
As she lay, pale and ghostly, in the Hospital Wing's bed, Harry contemplated the last words Luna Lovegood had said to him. "Harry, sometimes it's not about luck or power or knowledge, love - or what's true...It's about what you believe. Have faith in what you believe in and you will always conquer in the end. Have faith in me Harry, I can do this." Then she'd gone off about an imaginary invisible jungle monkey that she swore lived in the Owlery, but for a moment she had actually made perfect sense.
She'd had faith in him and look where it got her, he reminded himself.
At first, when he'd found Ron kneeling beside her, he'd thought she was dead. His friends had insisted on coming along, Luna, Ginny, and Neville always fighting to follow himself, Hermione and Ron. They'd been going to talk to Dumbledore, once again exiled from Hogwarts by the Ministry, he and his friends had snuck away to Hogsmeade, where he was hiding away in the Hog's Head, during the dead of the night.
It was never safe for Harry Potter to be traipsing about in the dark, but that night, it had been exceptionally dangerous. The same time he and his friends had decided to pay Dumbledore a visit, was the same time a group of Voldemort's Death Eaters had been out to pay him a different kind of visit.
The group of sixth and seventh years were exceptionally skilled Wizards and Witches, even Neville and Luna, but their enemies were particularly clever and held a vast education of odd jinxes and curses the students weren't familiar with. Hermione and Harry had repelled them the best, Ron (so stubborn) lost his wand early on in the skirmish and went straight to physically fighting his opponent. Neville was hit by a jinx that made him lose sight in his right eye, and actually beat the Death Eater he was up against. Ginny and Luna were thought of as the easy targets, mainly because they were the youngest and female. The Death Eaters also knew of Harry and Ginny's relationship, and thought that by taking Ginny's life, they could quickly weaken Harry, Ginny held the element of surprise with her power, and managed to survive until Dumbledore arrived.
A good witch, strange, but good. She'd been quick with her hexes, but it only took one powerful hit to put her down good. None of the others had heard what curse actually did it, for they'd all been caught up in their own battles.
After Dumbledore arrived and scared the enemies off, Harry had immediately assessed his friends' situations. Neville was holding a hand over his wounded eye, Ginny was walking towards him, and Hermione was approaching Ron, who was looking worriedly over the unconscious form of Luna.
The first thought that hit him was - that he'd let her - them - come along. Guilt shook through him and Ginny sensed it as soon as she looked in his eyes. "It's not your fault, Harry." Too many times he'd heard those words.
Dumbledore rushed to Luna's side as well, quickly levitating her away from the scene, but not before informing them, "She's not dead yet," and gesturing for them to follow him back to Hogwarts. He looked determined as he moved Luna quickly through the air.
Harry was wowed by his ability to take control and make the decision so fast.
The group followed, Hermione hugging onto Ron, Ginny's warmth a constant at Harry's side. Neville was trying his hardest to keep directly beside Dumbledore and Harry was wowed by him as well.
No one spoke as they marched to the Hospital Wing. Reaching Madame Pomfrey and the familiar Infirmary, Harry had to shake himself from the trance he'd fallen into. Pomfrey glanced at Neville's eye, before deciding that Luna was more urgent.
"No one has any idea what she was hit with?" The older witch asked, casting a couple charms over the Ravenclaw to reveal any internal injuries. They shook their heads no, shamefully hanging their heads.
Hermione managed to speak up, "If it's at all helpful...the same man who attacked her, tried to curse me with - an ancient curse...I've never heard of its use before, but they were using all kinds of unusual dark spells so it's likely that it could be what I think it is..." She was rambling and Pomfrey sent her a glare that told her to hurry it up. "It's called the Pseudo Death Curse, but no one's ever been cured by it before so maybe it's not it...we can still find some other way to cure Luna - " Pomfrey finally shushed her with a last look.
Dumbledore was stroking his beard, "If that's what Luna was struck with, there is hope yet."
"But Hermione said there's no cure -" Ginny said, despairingly. Dumbledore held up a hand.
"There is a way whenever faith is involved." The Headmaster explained, eyes twinkling at Harry in a way that made Harry start to believe... "If we have faith, she might awaken after all."
"Headmaster?" Ron spoke up nervously, "What - I've heard of it before but - what is the Pseudo Death Curse?"
"An excellent question Ron, the Pseudo Death Curse, is curse that causes the imitation of death, too often were live witches and wizards buried alive in the past because of this, their hearts stop beating, they grow cold...but not stiff and that is the key to knowing if they are truly dead or not. Luna is as limp as a rag-doll." Dumbledore held up one of Luna's arms and let it flop quietly back onto the bed.
The students watched the old man intently, but he was looking at the innocent girl on the bed, her eyes shut tight, her dirty blonde hair spread across the pillow and one knee sock slipping down her leg. She was a picture of unique beauty, forever trapped in that state.
"The curse has also been the beginner of old fairytales such as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White as the muggles adapted them. the Pseudo Death Curse can only be cured...by true love's kiss." Dumbledore ended quietly.
"What!?" Ron nearly shouted, ruining the moment. Ginny and Hermione both glared viciously, but Neville...who was standing silently in the corner, turned colors.
Harry was baffled, true love? Did it even exist? 'Have faith, Harry.' He could almost hear Luna telling him. Harry looked at Ginny; he loved her, he knew, but was it true love?
Dumbledore sighed while Pomfrey stopped messing with Luna and went to attend Neville's eyes. "True love...is a near extinct magic. When I was a boy, it seemed everywhere, but now...I see it less and less. Though Harry - and Ron - I believe both your parents were lucky cases of it." Ron's ears went pink and Harry felt his cheeks warm. "And I see true - very true - love amongst you. Ron and Hermione," Hermione too went pink, "Ginny and Harry...you are all destined for one another in ways not even you can imagine." Ginny's hand was suddenly in Harry's and though Harry was beaming, he couldn't help but look at Neville, sitting on the edge of the bed as Pomfrey bandaged him.
"And...Luna?" Ginny asked quietly.
A twitch of a smile was in the corners of Dumbledore's lips, "I believe it has been the best kept secret Hogwarts has ever seen. I only spotted it just now myself. It was the look in his - eh - eye."
Neville? Harry thought, but then suddenly it was, of course Neville! Who else but Neville could care for Luna? Who care for Neville in return, but Lunatic Luna?
Hermione smacked herself in the forehead, "I can't believe it!"
Neville, safe out of hearing, watched through his good eye as they conversed beside Luna. "All done, Mister Longbottom." Pomfrey said finally, looking satisfied. "You can take the bandage off in the morning and it should be all healed up."
"Thanks, Madame Pomfrey." He said, before returning to his group of friends. He found it odd when they stopped talking in his presence, but he hardly noticed...His head was still reeling from the news.
Luna needing true love's kiss to save her.
He couldn't imagine any other bloke kissing the girl...the girl he cared about so much.
"Any ideas on what to do?" He asked quietly, not taking his eye off the girl on the bed. His eye preoccupied, he didn't notice the exchanged glances.
"We decided, Neville, that you should give it a shot."
Neville whirled around so fast, he nearly fell over. "ME?! Why me? I'm - I'm nobody's true love! True love is something that happens to heroes, not clumsy boys who like Herbology!" He gasped out, fisting a handful of his robes.
"Neville, it has become apparent to us, that you are the only man for the job, clumsy or acute to Herbology or not." Dumbledore said wisely.
The student in question was beside himself. "But - I might do it wrong! What if I make it worse? What if the wrong kiss kills her? What if my breath smells? What if she DOES wake up - then what do I do?"
Harry took the moment to speak up, "There is no way you can do it wrong, make it worse, or kill her. Ginny always keeps Peppermints in her pocket and WHEN Luna wakes up...then...we'll be here to help you." Harry smiled encouragingly, but Neville still looked a bit green in the face.
"I don't know..." The green faced young man mumbled.
"Neville! For Merlin's sake!" Ginny demanded. She ripped a peppermint case from her pocket, shoved about seven in Neville's mouth before pushing him hard so that he was nearly atop Luna's bed. "Kiss her, you clumsy, Herbology loving fool!"
Under pressure, he cracked and swept in quickly, giving Luna a chaste kiss on the lips.
"Oh c'mon Neville, you could've done better than - " Ron was abruptly stopped by an elbow in his ribs, via Hermione.
They waited patiently, Neville not even moving from his spot above the girl in the bed. His elbows were just about to start aching from the angle when Luna's eyes blinked open.
He let out an outrageously long breath and grinned happily at her. The Hospital Wing started cheering.
"Neville!" She exclaimed, wrapping her arms around him. "I knew you'd save me." She whispered below the noise.
"How?" He asked her.
"I had faith in you. Everlasting faith." She said, slipping her hand into his. "I heard...everything. Just because I looked dead, felt dead - possibly smelled dead as that alley we were in was rank - didn't mean I lost all sense of everything."
"I love you." Neville blurted, before covering his mouth with his free hand.
"Neville, if you could wake me up from this...it's obvious that you do. It's like dad always says, you gotta be a frog to know what it's like to be a duck."
Luna sighed, "I love you too." She elaborated.
"Good...for a second, I thought you wanted me to turn into a frog."
Like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty developed from Wizarding tales, The Faithful Prince came about from Luna and Neville's story.
A century later, young muggle boys and girls could be seen reading this fairytale...
Once upon a time, there was a young, innocent princess who was cursed by an evil sorcerer. A good sorcerer saved her life with a spell, but alas, it could only be broken by true love's kiss. The princess waits with strong faith that her true love will awaken her.
The faithful prince (her true love) battles being temporarily blinded by the same evil sorcerer, cursed to fall in love with trees and shrubbery, and a savage forest of giant peppermint trolls. But faithful to his love, he finds and rescues her from peril.
The moral of the story, kids? Have faith in what you truly believe in and never give up.
Author's End Note: Told you it was insane, didn't I?