Always There

By: Gypsy Scribe

Author's Note: Thank you so much to all who read and reviewed. I am so delighted that someone out there liked my little story as much as I did! I had already planned to do several continuations, alternating between Neville and Luna's points of view, but I find now I must thanks to the kind reviews of several readers.

This is second take on the first story, told from Luna's point of view. I do hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: Same as before J

I like the way the grass tickles the bottoms of my feet. I like the way the mud at the edge of the little pond squishes up between my toes, turning them to chocolate worms, wriggling and delighting in their freedom. I like the way my voice seems to carry as I hum along at the water's edge, the way the branches of the Willows catch my little tune and fling it back to me with a breeze. And I like the way he watches me. He thinks I don't notice. Perhaps he just hopes I don't. But I do. I always have.

He's been here almost a week. Harry invited him. Ginny and Harry are getting married this weekend. I love weddings! They are so beautiful and dream-like with the sparkling lights and white flowers that dance in the breezes that always seem to skirt by the bride at just the right moment. And the Weasley's know how to throw a gorgeous wedding. Thankfully, this time, there will not be any frightful interruptions.

Ginny's asked me to sing in the wedding. I'm quite honored actually. She's become almost like a sister to me these past two years. We've all been through so much. Hard to believe we're so young. Ginny and I are only 18. Only 18. Sounds so serious. I grin at my observation. I've lived here for two years now and I've loved every minute of it. Well, maybe not every minute, but at least I am surrounded by friends. Friends. That word takes a bit getting used to for me. I believe friendship is the most important thing in the whole world. And love. The Weasley's are full of love. I feel as though I've been accepted into a secret and wonderful society.

I giggle as a dragonfly lands on his head. He doesn't notice. He's so intent on gathering Parcel Fungus. I wonder if I should tell him that my Dad once found a Parcel Fungus filled with Faerie gold? Nasty business he had trying to explain he didn't take it on purpose. I guess they forgave him. They did return his nose to right side up!

Daddy-I let a sigh escape. I wonder if he heard? It's still so hard to think of Daddy without the danger of tears. Everyone thinks I live in a world of make-believe, impervious to the horrors that sometimes accompany real life. How soon they forget that I, too, lived the terror that was Hogwarts some two years ago. They believe I am always so peaceful and happy. Everyone but him. I know because I've seen him watching me as I let the sadness overtake me. I try to hide but somehow he always finds me, he's always there. He never makes himself known. He stays in the shadows, politely letting me spill my sorrow silently until I remember all the wonder in this world that Daddy showed me. He wouldn't want me to be sad. And neither would the boy with the shaggy brown hair now kneeling at the far edge of the pond. He never says anything but he's always there. He always has been.

He's not the flashy kind. He doesn't draw attention to himself. He's always been content to live in Harry and Ron's shadow, content to be their friend. But I was with him two years ago. I saw the leader inside. Besides, before that he saved my life. He's a hero in my book.

He's not the one the other girls were drawn to. They didn't acknowledge him unless they were making fun of him or laughing because he tripped or dropped a stack of books. Of course, these were the same girls who stole my shoes and knocked the books out of my hands. How could they laugh at a boy like him? He's so kind, so honest, so…real. I wonder if he knows how much I appreciate him? His presence alone is enough to lift any cloud that may drift across and dim the silver light of the moon. I wonder if I should tell him? I wonder if I should tell him his eyes are as rich and deep and mysterious as the damp earth he loves. I could grow in eyes like that. I could blossom in the rich, fertile soil of his gentle spirit. He has that gift, you know: to make things grow.

How long have I thought this way about him? I think it was the first time he smiled at me. In the Room of Requirement I was facing off against Ginny and she knocked my wand across the room. It was he who picked it up and handed it back to me. No one ever handed me things. The other kids were always knocking things out of my hands. But here was this fifth year boy who ran with the Boy Who Lived, handing a fourth year girl her wand. His fingers ever so slightly brushed against mine and he smiled at me. It was like-like a breath of autumn after a particularly scorching summer afternoon. Then he saved my life in the Department of Mysteries. I felt something more in his grasp then just the care of one human for another. There was a sense of urgency, of need.

I turn at his exclamation and try not to laugh. He must have cut his finger on a rock. He's sucking on it, pretending to be cool but we both know he's not. He's just Neville. And I think that's beautiful.

O I feel like dancing! I think I shall. It is a glorious afternoon, after all. I start swaying with the crisp autumn breeze, letting the song of the birds overhead and the rustling of the Weeping Willows carry my movements across the moist earth. I skip and twirl, oblivious to anything and everyone. Everyone except him. I know he's watching. And I'm glad. Dragonflies surround me and seem to carry me off the ground and into the glistening realm of their effervescent wings. Ahh, to live like this forever, free from the constraints of what's 'normal' and 'expected'. Even in the wizarding world there are rules and expectations. But I don't care. I'm happy this way. And I'm happy Daddy didn't stifle me just because the neighbors said I'd grow up to be odd and never be able to function in polite society.

He must be finished. He's gathering up the basket Mrs. Weasley lets him use for his collecting. She's such a generous woman. I'm forever thankful to her for letting me stay with them. It's nice to be a part of a family again. This time I do giggle. He's trying to decide how best to walk past me. Sometimes I think he doesn't quite know how to take me. But he never acts disturbed or confused. He always listens and lets me be just who I am: myself.

Hmmm, he's decided to walk right past me. Good. I think I'll speak. Maybe I'll catch a glimpse of that which I so deeply desire to see: the innermost workings of his mind. He smiles and I smile back, causing his eyes to sparkle.

"Hello, Neville. Isn't this a glorious afternoon?"

And I twirl past him; he's near enough that I can smell the dirt that's caked under his fingernails and the smell of the water droplets collected in his hair, on his rolled up shirt-sleeves. The dragonflies are still following me, still dancing and humming their enigmatic chorus. I dip my toes into the pond, right where he was only moments before. I love the way the water giggles with ripples that stretch across it's length, stirring awake the tall grasses that border the water's rim.

Yes, he's always there. And for now, that's enough.