Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter
Story by StormDancer
It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
Neville strode through the castle, his robes swishing behind him. The other students, as they saw him pass, actually got out of his way for once. Although he usually would have been gratified, now he didn't notice. He trough open the portrait hole, barley noticing the Fat Lady's cry of surprise and stalked upstairs, not seeing his friends sitting at a table near the fire.
"What's up with him?" Harry asked as Neville walked by without even a glance.
Hermione shrugged, but Ron answered first.
"Bad things with Sophia. I'll go talk to him."
Harry and Hermione stared after him in amazement.
"How'd he know that?" Hermione asked incredulously.
Harry looked at her and shook his head in despair.
"I think I know," he muttered, remembering all the times he had had to pacify Ron after an argument with Hermione. Love was wonderful, he supposed, but it seemed to generate the most arguments.
Hermione stared at him.
"And you aren't telling me, why?"
"You're smart, Hermione," Harry responded with a smirk, "Figure it out."
Hermione's glare frightened off two first years who were coming to ask for her help.
"Mate?" Ron called, fearfully peaking into his dorm, "Neville? You there?"
When there was no answer, he entered the room completely. Neville was digging in his trunk, searching hurriedly for something.
"If you're looking for your broom, I think you put it under your bed," Ron observed.
Neville retrieved his broom without a word of thanks. Ron rubbed his temples. Calming Neville down seemed to be a bigger task than he had expected.
"So, what's wrong?" he asked, sitting on his bed, "What happened to Sophia?"
Neville turned and stared at him.
"How'd you know it was about Sophia?" he asked slowly. Ron grinned.
"I know the feeling, trust me."
"I guess you would, "Neville admitted.
"So…" Ron prompted, "If you tell someone, you won't feel so bad. '
"That bitch!" Neville suddenly yelled, "She is such a damn snob! She wants Neron to take off his mask to see who he is, but if he's a nerd she'll, and I quote, 'let him down easy!' So now I can't ever tell her who Neron is, because she'll drop both me and him! And I can't go on listening to her sing my praises behind my back to me!"
Ron gaped at him a moment.
"I don't think that last sentence made sense," he complained. Neville rolled his eyes. Ron hurriedly continued, "But that's a relief."
"What is?" Neville asked bitterly, "That the girl I love is a complete snob who will have nothing to do with me?"
"No," Ron corrected, "That you aren't love blind, like we all think Luna is with Draco. If you can see her faults, than that makes for a much healthier and more balanced relationship."
"Who do you know this?" Neville inquired cautiously.
"I've been talking to Hermione a lot lately," Ron admitted with a sheepish grin. Neville smirked back.
"Talking?" he said suggestively.
"Yes, talking," Ron exclaimed firmly, "Anyway, back to your problems…"
"I don't have problems," Neville stated coldly, "Sophia does. Now if you don't mind, I need to be alone."
Ron nodded in assent, and left, quietly closing the door behind him. Neville turned to the window, opened it, and took off into the sky. He didn't notice Ron sneak back in and quietly close the window, muttering a spell under his breath.
Sophia walked slowly through the hallways of Hogwarts, muttering under her breath.
"I'm sorry Nev, your right? No, too bland and easy to fake. Well, Neville, I've been thinking it over and I believe you are in the right? Too scripted. Nev, I'm so so so so so so sorry? That might work, with enough pouting," she argued with herself.
"You know he probably still won't believe you," a voice said out of the shadows. Sophia turned, expecting Neron, but saw instead the white blond hair of Draco Malfoy.
"what are you doing?" she asked slightly fearfully.
"Giving some friendly advice," he assured her, not moving from his position leaning against the wall, "Longbottom will never listen to you apologize. He hates you at the moment."
"I know," Sophia shrugged, "But he'll come around eventually. He always does."
"Why do you need him too?" Draco asked coolly, "Why do you need a dork like him as your friend?"
Sophia's eyes flashed.
"Neville knows more about friendship than you ever will. Malfoy! He's my best friend! And I need him more than you could ever know! Without him, I'd be lost!" she screamed. Draco smiled like a cat with its cream.
"ah, but you're wrong. You need Neville like I need Luna."
"Actually, now that you're here, I've been meaning to ask you about something," Sophia began cautiously. Draco nodded for her to continue.
"Why are you with her? I mean, you could have done a lot better socially than Luna 'Looney' Lovegood. I mean, she's a joke to most people. Why her?"
Draco had risen at the mention of Luna's old nickname.
"Do people still call her that?" he asked angrily.
"No, not much. Especially not when you or any of Harry Potter's crowd can hear."
Draco relaxed again, thinking hard.
"The reason it's her? You'll have to ask her, I honestly don't deserve her. She's so much better than me. You think I'd be here right now if it was up to me? Luna sent me to help you and Neville, but as far as I can see you don't need help. I'm hers because I didn't care about my popularity, in comparison to having my love. But you do care, and that is what's holding you back. Let me tell you something, as someone who's led the life you lead and walked in the real world as well. What you have, the popularity and even he looks, don't matter. And because you care, you won't have what you think you have but don't. Remember, Sophia, I only got my love when I stopped caring about the trappings of life."
He strode off down the corridor, green robes swishing around him. At the end of the hall, Sophia could see another silvery blond head meeting him. They paused a while, than set off again, Luna leaning on his shoulder.
Sophia stared after him. It actually seemed like he loved Luna! But how could he! He was one of the handsomest boys at school, and yet he had chosen Luna and was happy, even ecstatic in his choice! It was like he meant what he had said, that he didn't care about popularity! Who could do that? She shook her head as she continued down the hall, until a memory stopped her.
'You need him like I need Luna.'
Draco had said that. But Draco and Luna were in love! That was a very different kind of needing him! Sure, Neville was nice, and caring, and really everything she could hope for in a boy, except maybe looks, he was still at the other end of the chain. And that was the fatality in it. Sophia walked on.
Neville hit the window into his dorm, which someone had conveniently locked. Whoever had done that, and Neville had a pretty good idea, was going to get it when he found them! His present calm mood, brought on by his flight, was rapidly dissipating. He turned back and began to fly towards the front door, when he noticed Sophia walking around the grounds. Curious, he landed a little ways away and sat on the grass in front of the lake, watching her inconspicuously. She was about go back inside when she turned for a last look. Spotting something in his direction, she began to walk over to him.
Neville rose and began to mount his broom. Out of everyone, this was the one person he really didn't want to talk to right now. Just before he was about to take off, She yelled after him,
"Nev, wait! Please!"
He continued his take off. She groaned and ran until she was nearer to him.
"Look, Nev, you're right. I was being a bitch, okay. I shouldn't be so concerned about Neron's social status, and I shouldn't have gotten mad at you for trying to get me to see his side."
Neville continued to sit on his broom, ignoring her. She raised her hands in defeat.
"I'm sorry Neville, what more do you want?" she yelled up to him. He turned and floated back down to her. When he was about level, he looked her straight in the eyes, as if trying to see in her the truth of her words. Sophia stared back.
'Wow, his eyes are so pretty! They're almost like Neron's!' she thought as he continued to search her soul.
"Sophia, can you meet me at the top of the north tower in about ten minutes?" he asked suddenly. Surprised by this request, Sophia nodded.
He mounted his broom and kicked off into the air, leaving her gaping beneath him. 'he's as good on a broom as Neron,' she mused as she walked back into the castle, 'and he doesn't look half bad on it, either.'
Neville was back at his window, knocking furiously. Harry looked over.
"Hey, isn't that Neville?" he observed lazily.
"Yeah," Ron agreed, getting up to open the window. Neville flew in quickly, scowling at him as he passed.
"You, I'll get later," he assured Ron as he struggled into his Neron robes and began searching frantically for his mask.
"Looking for this?" Ron asked innocently as he held up the mask. Neville lunged for it, but he danced out of the way. "Nope, first you have to tell me what's happening."
Neville sighed, defeated.
"I'm going to go tell Sophia, okay? Now can I please have my mask back?"
Ron tossed it to him, trying to mask his surprise.
"Go get her," he cheered as Neville flew back out the open window. Harry was watching Neville fly out wistfully.
"Ron, do you think we'll ever find anyone we love like Neville does?" he asked pensively.
Ron grinned at him.
"You, I don't know. Me?" he said as Hermione came into the room, "I already have," he finished in an undertone, winking cheekily.
Sophia sat on top of the tower, waiting. Why would Neville want to meet her here? And was it just a coincidence that this was where she usually met Neron? She sat, wondering.
"Hey," A voice came out of the shadows.
"Hi, Neville," Sophia began, but when she turned she noticed it was Neron, "Oh, hi."
"Why did you think I was Neville?" Neron asked, settling next to her without any of his usual endearments or mysterious comments.
"I don't know, I was expecting him and I guess your voices are kinda alike," she answered.
"Look, Sophia, I have to tell you-"
'Neron, There's something I have to say-"
They both laughed, and Neron motioned for Sophia to continue.
"I'm sorry for how pushy I was last time, it was wrong of me. It's your business, none of mine. If you don't want me to see your face, it's fine with me"
"No, no, I'm sorry," Neron asserted, "it is your business. For all you know, I could be a Death Eater. I'm not" he assured her at Sophia's look of horror, "But I could be. Do you honestly want me to take off my mask?"
Sophia nodded slowly.
"Only if it won't hurt you," she began, but Neron laughed bitterly.
"Oh no, taking off the mask isn't what will hurt," he reached up to untie the mask, but before he did so he looked straight at her, "Before I do, I want you to promise not to run or anything until you hear me out. Do you promise?"
Sophia was caught in his brown eyes, so like Neville's.
"I do," she murmured. He began to fumble with the strings. Sophia quickly pulled him into a kiss.
"What was that for?" he asked when they had separated.
"In case you are someone I hate, or something, I still have one last kiss to remember Neron by," she explained. He nodded, and finally untied his mask. It dropped to the floor amidst Sophia's shocked breath.
"Neville?" she asked incredulously.
"I'm sorry," he immediately began, "I wish I didn't need to lie to you. But you know you would never have looked at me if I had told you as me! This was the only way I could get you to listen!"
Sophia was staring at him, her eyes slightly glazed. It had been Neville, all along. Her best friend, the one she couldn't live without. Looking back, she could see all the signs that he was Neron, things she had overlooked.
"Neville, why?" she asked softly.
"Why?" he asked bitterly, "This is why! You would never think of me as more than a friend. DO you know how much it hurts to see the girl you love going out with boy after boy, always telling you about it, and never once being looked at as a possibility? I was tired of being overlooked, Sophia!"
The storm that had been threatening all day broke.
Sophia couldn't take her eyes from him. How had she never seen him like this? He was right, of course. She hadn't seen him as possible boyfriend material. Why, she would never know. He was just as handsome as Neron, even without the mystery of a mask. If only he was at her social level!
Neville turned away, grabbing his broom and preparing to mount it.
"I'm sorry, Soph. I won't bother you again."
Sophia couldn't take it in. Her mind was in a mess of confusion. Neville loved her? IN the midst of her confusion, one voice came to the fore.
'I only got my love when I stopped caring about the trappings of life.'
Draco had said that about Luna, and look how happy they were. She made her decision. As Neville was about to fly away, she ran over to the edge. To his complete surprise, she pulled him into a kiss just as meaningful as the one she had shared with Neron just a moment ago.
"I'll be seeing you, Nev," she smiled as ran out of the rain. Neville stared after her, a grin growing on his face.
Ecstatically, he flew into the very heart of the storm. Dancing with the lightning, he was as relaxed as he had ever been. He had what was his, and now even if nobody ever noticed him again, it wouldn't matter. For his love would overlook him no more.
Author's note- well, there it is. Thank you for reading, and i would much aprreciate it if you would review.