A Rather Frosty Christmas

Neville had just finished breakfast in the Great Hall, and was trudging back to the Gryffindor Common Room when he heard a voice call after him.

"Neville!"

He turned around, and his face broke out in a grin.

"Hi, Luna," he said cheerfully.

Suddenly the dark corridor to the Great Hall seemed a lot more cheerful. Maybe the House Elves had been doing extra decorations there for Christmas, after all.

Luna smiled then, and her face was almost dreamier than usual.

Neville felt an odd sort of twisting in his stomach. What had happened to make her so happy? He wracked his brains in thought. Then-

"Harry's taking me to Slughorn's party tonight, as a friend!" she said excitedly.

Something slightly ugly reared itself in Neville's chest. He'd always thought of Harry as a friend, but now he saw-

No. Don't think that. Never think that. Harry's been nothing but a good friend!

Now guilt was starting to knot itself around his stomach.

"Neville?"

He blinked and saw Luna peering at his face.

"That's great," he said, unenthusiastically.

"I know," she said, apparently not catching onto his tone, "my first party!"

"What's so special about that?" asked Neville, slightly grumpily. "I'd have asked you too if I had an invite."

"That's very nice of you," Luna beamed, and Neville felt much happier, until she continued- "But I'm so excited about tonight!"

"Right," he muttered, grumpily. "You can go off and start airing your dress robes, then. Hope you have a good time."

And he stormed off, noticing only briefly the hurt in Luna's eyes.

-

What he had been thinking?

Neville wanted to tear his hair out.

What did it matter so much if Luna was going to a bloody party? Harry was a good mate, they'd have a fun time-

But that was precisely what was irritating him so much.

They'd have a fun time.

Why did the Common Room have to look so cheerful? All crimson and gold and happy- all Christmas colours. Probably Slughorn would use this colour scheme for his party. Parvati had said it sounded like it was going to be really good. He'd seen some of the preparations in Slughorn's office. And Luna would be going there. With Harry.

"Hi, Neville."

He looked up glumly.

"Hi, Ginny."

She looked at him shrewdly, and chewed on her lower lip. Then she rested her bag on the common room table nearest the fire, and curled up on the chair opposite him.

"What's the matter, Neville?"

He stared into the fireplace. The fire was growing smaller. He could see the glowing embers slowly dying out.

"Incendio!" he muttered.

"Neville," Ginny repeated, and he looked at her. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing."

"Yeah right, nothing," she snorted. "What in Merlin's name are you doing sulking up here? Don't you want to see the plants Professor Sprout's brought in to the Great Hall to decorate it for Christmas?"

"Professor Sprout can bring the plants in herself," he muttered. "I don't care."

Ginny studied him closely yet again.

"What?" he snapped.

Ginny looked slightly offended.

"There's no need to take that tone with me," she said coolly, "I was only wanting to help. Besides, you usually care about helping Professor Sprout with the plants."

With that, she stood up and began walking towards the portrait hole.

Something burst within Neville at that moment, and he called out weakly to her.

"Harry's taking Luna to Slughorn's party."

Ginny turned around, confused.

"Yes, and she's thrilled," she said. "Aren't you happy that she's happy?"

The honest answer was no, but Neville knew it would sound awful to say so.

But it was evidently enough of an answer for Ginny, who walked back to her recently vacated chair, and sat down again.

"Are you jealous?" she asked bluntly.

"No," said Neville, fiercely, surprising himself.

She laughed gently and shook her head.

"Boys," was all she said, and stood up again, shooting him a slightly amused look.

"Hey!" he shouted, "I thought you'd want to help-"

But she had merely disappeared through the portrait hole.

Neville looked across the room. Outside, the snow was falling swiftly. Inside, the fire was crackling merrily, shooting little embers across the carpet and casting shadows on the walls. It irritated him.

"Aguamenti."

Then he slung his bag over his back and went to see the Great Hall.

Professor Sprout had said that there would be imported plants from Norway, after all.

--

A/N: This is my first real Harry Potter fic! (Yes, it did take me this long).

A massive thanks to Michael Goldenberg, whose direction of OotP reawakened my inner Neville/Luna fangirl, and to JKR for finishing her series with a brilliant book.

Also, a huge thanks to Almyra, who helped beta-read this. (Waves flags reading "Almyra" and throws confetti).

And finally...

THIS IS ALMOST CANON!

"When she was first asked about the possibility of Luna hooking up with Neville Longbottom several years ago, Rowling's response was "Definitely not." But as time passed and she watched her characters mature, Rowling started to "feel a bit of a pull" between the unlikely pair." -http://www.msnbc.

Am totally, ridiculously, head-over-heels in love with Neville Longbottom. If my fondness for Neville/Luna weren't so strong, I'd abandon this fic and claim him for my own, really. But Neville/Luna prevails. If you didn't like this, I can't actually apologise, but please drop a note anyway. If you liked it, then know that I'm as thrilled as Luna was to go to her first party.

God bless!