Luna woke up, safe in her bed in Hogwarts and miraculously not covered in that gooey mix of flobberworms and Orangify potion like the day before.
Too bad, she thought. Now the Pfester Neckles wouldn't be warned that she was poisonous.
She sat up, bringing her face directly up to a piece of clothing. She was careful to hang all of her clothes up. The bureau that they had provided her had a boggart in it – during fifth year, one of her housemates had found out that asphodel attracted those. Luna now kept her clothes on little things that were enchanted to hold one thing to another. In this case, quills bound her wardrobe to the wooden frame of her bed with more strength than one would expect. That was from the soaking she had given them in leeches.
She felt around for a shirt, blazer, and skirt. But she caught herself; this skirt was a gift from her Daddy, made of genuine Acromantula silk. She tried again and got the grey wool skirt that was for Hogwarts.
So she dressed, and then ventured out of the curtains.
Absolute silence. No one was in the dormitory with her.
Luna wondered what time it was. Maybe breakfast was over already, and she could go straight to class without falling over everything.
She wandered down to the Grand Staircase, talking to the portraits on the walls to be sure of her path. Half the school was still eating breakfast, from the sounds through the open door. She decided not to go in at all, and drifted off toward the Library instead.
It didn't take very long for Madame Pince to kick her out again. That was alright, though. The librarian was showing symptoms of Saurblettitis, Luna knew, and no one could be blamed for that.
And she had been talking to the books, which could threaten a Saurblett sufferer's fragile frame of mind.
So she stayed out in the hall, sitting against the cold stones of the castle and chatting with her Transfiguration textbook about the test coming up first lesson of the day. It had taken her three days to find a spell that could let her get information verbally, and homework had been a bit tricky, then. Now everything was fine.
In the middle of a lengthy lecture from the book on the subject of metal-to-gas transfiguration, two hopelessly awkward feet stopped walking right in front of her.
She asked the book to excuse her for a moment and tilted her face up. "Are you interested in a discussion with the textbook, too?"
The person knelt down. "Um, Luna, good morning…"
She smiled. "Neville Longbottom! It's nice that you're interested in Transfiguration. Professor McGonagall has been more strict, lately. Do you think she might be catching Saurblettitis, too?"
Neville hesitated, and then moved to sit next to her on the flagstones. "I've been worried about you."
"Don't worry, the Pfester Neckles will probably remember that I'm poisonous. It was only yesterday, after all. And if not, I'm sure that I'll find myself orange again in no time."
"No, Luna. Not about that." He took a long moment to swallow, and then managed, "Could you – could you look at me, please?"
Luna was already facing him. She tried to judge the source of his voice, and pointed her eyes there.
He sighed. "I knew it. You've been walking into people more often, lately, and you haven't been reading."
Luna blinked at him. "Do you want me to take the speech enchantments off my books?"
Neville said, "You can't see, Luna."
"Of course not," she said obviously. "The Persiana curse won't wear off until the end of the week."
"You…er, you did talk to Madame Pomfry, then, did you?"
"Yes. I thought that it was all the Weasley Crunching Crickets that people were putting in my lunch, but those just make your ears ring constantly for six hours. It was a bit hard to get to sleep, either way."
Neville produced a sound that might have been from sliding his sleeve up to check his watch - he didn't use a spell if he could help it - and then said, "It's time for lessons."
Luna used the wall to stand, making sure to thank the book for its help. She had already taken a few steps towards Transfiguration when Neville's large hand settled on her shoulder. She turned back around.
Neville said, "Y-you know, I could help. I mean, we could. The… you know, we're your friends. All of us, I mean. We could stop everyone from picking on you."
Luna smiled quizzically. "I don't mind."
"But you… don't deserve that. You deserve better than being temporarily blinded or waking up orange."
"I don't mind," she repeated. "The people whose opinions matter all have good opinions of me. And the orange keeps the Pfester Neckles away."
Neville wavered again, but took his hand back. "Right. S-sorry."
When she had taken a few more steps, he said, "Do you need… um, can I walk you to class?"
"No, I can find my way by the portraits," she informed him.
"Sorry," he said again.
She turned back and smiled. "But thank you for offering. That's definitely the best inoculation against Saurblettitis."
And she left, wishing briefly that she could see, because Neville was probably blushing. He did that, when she thanked him for things.
But she would be able to see soon enough.
Hopefully the Pfester Neckles wouldn't come before then.