By: Gypsy Scribe
Author's Note: Well, here it is, kids! The final installment of the Neville/Luna story. I must say I am honored to have had so many wonderful reviewers and readers! You guys are the best, and so very kind too boot! Thank you all so much for indulging me in my little romp through the Harry Potter-verse! I have enjoyed it thoroughly. And don't worry- this is not the end of my fan fiction submissions. I have plans for several others, maybe another Harry Potter or two as well. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the conclusion of what began so long ago with "Always There".
This story will be written from both Neville and Luna's perspectives. I hope it's not too far gone from the original.
Standard Disclaimer Applies - in other words, I don't own the characters, just the plot.
(Neville) The big day is here. We woke up this morning and found Harry staring out the window. We asked him what was wrong and he just said he felt like he was going to be sick! Ron, of course, over-reacted and took it to mean that Harry was considering backing out. I've never seen him so mad! His face turned as red as his hair. Harry just stood there, letting him rant and rave, until he couldn't take it any more and burst out laughing. Ron asked him what was so bloody funny about him ditching his sister on her wedding day and Harry told him that he hoped Ron would never change. When I left the room, they were hugging and laughing together.
I found Mrs. Weasley in the kitchen cooking. When I asked her what she was doing, saying she should be relaxing, that we could fend for ourselves with breakfast, she said it was her way of de-stressing and hoped that I had a hearty appetite because she'd cooked just about everything in the house. She wasn't kidding! I sat down just as George, Charlie and Bill came bounding down the stairs.
"Good Lord, Mum!" George exclaimed, "Who are you cooking for, an army?"
"Well," Bill said with a grin, "Charlie is here. She had to make sure the rest of us at least got a sausage."
Charlie succeeded in hitting Bill upside the head with a seat cushion and Bill tossed a napkin, missing Charlie and hitting Fleur, Bill's wife, instead. She just laughed and said, "Boys never change, do zey, Mrs. Weazley?" in her intoxicating French accent. Harry and Ron joined us, as did Hermione and Mr. Weasley.
"Where's Luna?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
"Out walking with Ginny," Hermione said, "You know Harry's not supposed to see her until the wedding. She didn't want to go out alone. They thought they'd walk around the pond before coming in for breakfast. Give these oafs some time to stuff their faces and be off." Hermione smirked at Ron and Harry. Harry just smiled; Ron stuck out his tongue and crammed a large bite of toast in his mouth, much to Hermione's disgust.
(Luna) The big day is here. We woke up this morning and Ginny was sitting by her window, combing her hair. All around her were boxes, filled with all her things, to be moved to her and Harry's flat as soon as they returned from a week in France. Fleur's family graciously offered their vacation chateau for them to honeymoon in. We asked how she was feeling and she admitted to being a bit nervous, but overall excited and just ready to get it over with. Hermione declared it against tradition for Harry to see Ginny before the wedding and Ginny, with a slight shrug of her shoulders, said she'd just wander around outside until after he'd finished breakfast. That's when she smiled and asked me if I'd like to join her.
"I'd be delighted," I replied with a smile.
Ginny and I snuck out the kitchen before Mrs. Weasley could see and rushed across the garden, through the patch of oaks and over to the small pond that marked the farthest boundary of the Weasley's property. My eyes lingered for a moment on the hill upon which once sat my house, now destroyed, my parents both dead, and I living with the Weasleys. How strange it was going to be when Ginny was gone. I would be left there with her parents; all her brothers had moved out now, even Ron, who was living outside of Hogsmeade with George. I was feeling a bit apprehensive about that and it must have shown on my face.
"Are you alright, Luna?" Ginny asked.
"Mmmm," I answered, looking at her and smiling, then looking past her as I caught a glimpse of a fairy in the willow tree. It saw me looking, however, and darted into the trees, disappearing in the greenery.
"Luna, what ever is the matter? It's my wedding day and I demand you be happy." Ginny let out a little laugh and I couldn't help but smile too.
"I'm just a little concerned about remaining at your parent's house once you are gone. I know they've said they don't mind, but I feel as though I'm free loading. I have yet to hear back from the Department of Mysteries about the position I applied for."
"Ah…hunting snort snacks or something in outer Mongolia."
I rolled my eyes, "I'd be apart of a very experimental division of the Department whose sole purpose is to seek out and discover mythological creatures and study them in their natural habitat. Sort of like crypto zoology is for Muggles."
Ginny nodded and I could tell she was only listening to be courteous. "Anyway," I continued, "if I'm accepted to the program, I'll be on the road every other month and I'll be able to afford my own place. Then I won't be a burden on your family any longer."
"Luna, you're not a burden to anyone! How can you say that?"
I didn't look at her. I went back to scowering the willow tree for fairies. I've heard that if you can find a fairy nest in a willow tree, and if you can take a feather from the nest without getting caught, you'll be able to see fairies anywhere, so long as you have the feather with you! If you get caught however…
" What are Neville's plans?"
The mention of Neville's name made my heart skip a beat but I fought to remain impassive in my expression. "I'm not sure. We don't really talk that much."
"A shame. Considering you both like each other so much." Ginny cut her eyes at me and I could see that she was fishing for information.
"Like each other?" I averted my eyes and decided the pond made a better diversion than the willow tree behind Ginny's left shoulder.
It's obvious to everyone that you like each other. Come on, Luna,"
Ginny pulled her legs close to her chest and leaned forward on the
rock she was seated on, "tell me, you do like Neville, don't
I hesitated. Ginny is my best friend, that is for certain. But…this was complicated. I didn't really know how to answer. Sure, I liked him. But it went much deeper than that. I wasn't so sure I could admit my true feelings to my friend. I don't know what I was afraid of. I began chewing on my bottom lip, a sure sign I was confused.
Ginny smiled, "It's ok, Luna. I won't tell him. In fact, the only person I would tell is Harry and he already knows."
"He talked to Neville just yesterday."
eyes went wider than usual, "He did?" my voice squeaked.
"What…what did he say?"
"Harry or Neville?"
Now I knew she was teasing me, "Both."
Nervously, I awaited her answer. My hands shook and my heart was all a-flutter. Ginny picked a dandelion seed head and blew the little seeds into the wind, creating a chorus of ballerinas that twirled and scuttled with the wind, around our faces and getting caught in our hair.
"Harry asked Neville if he liked you. Neville sputtered around the issue for a bit before finally turning blood red and admitting he had liked you for quite some time. Harry asked him why he never told you. Neville sighed and said he was afraid you didn't like him in the same way."
I gasped, "You mean, Neville doesn't think I like him?"
Ginny shrugged, "It seems that way."
(Neville) "You've got to tell her, Neville, you've just got to!"
Honestly, you'd think this was my wedding and not Harry's! Could he stop pestering me about my feelings for Luna for one moment? After a whole week of interrogation, he and Ron were finally successful at wrangling a confession from me. I liked Luna, a lot. Of course, they didn't have to know how much. Now, after breakfast, sitting in Ron's room, I was getting the third degree, not just from Harry and Ron, but from George, Charlie and Bill as well. To be fair, Charlie and Bill weren't saying much, just nodding here and there, but you would have thought George had joined the Crusades in order to get me to confess my undying love to Luna Lovegood.
"If you don't tell her, I will." He said.
"You will not!" I said, looking at him with more force than even I knew I was capable of.
"Come on, mate," Bill said, sliding off Ron's bed and sitting cross-legged on the floor, "what's keeping you from telling her? Are you afraid she doesn't feel the same way?"
"Listen, I went through the same thing with Fleur. I was head over heels in love with her. I knew she liked me, I mean she spent all her time with me, right. But did she love me? Would she actually consider dating me, or, what's more, marrying me?"
"You knew you wanted to marry Fleur before you ever dated?" Ron asked.
"Yeah." Bill said with a shrug. "That's just the way it works, Ron. When you find the right one, you just know."
I rolled that thought over in my head. You just know? Did I "just know" that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Luna? Dare I even consider that an option? Was that even fair to her without knowing her feeling towards me?
"Come on, Neville," Harry finally said, "You have to let her know how you feel. If for nothing else but to get some relief for yourself. Even if she says no, at least you'll know and you can get on with your life."
I tried desperately to look somewhere that didn't include a pair of prying eyes but my efforts were to no avail. I was surrounded by Weasleys and a Potter.
"Besides," Harry said, slowly, "Ginny's already talked to Luna."
eyes went wide and my mouth went dry, "She has?"
"Sure. Girls do that sort of thing. She told me last night."
nodded, not sure I wanted to hear what he had to say, but dying to
know at the same time. When he didn't offer any more information, I
"And what?" Harry looked at me.
"And what did she say?"
did who say?"
"Luna!" I almost shouted. Ron and George started giggling. Charlie, who was reading a magazine on Quidditch, just shook his head and chuckled.
right." Harry was struggling not to laugh and I had the most
uncomfortable feeling that I was being set up. O well, might as well
run right into it instead of being pulled. "Ginny said, that Luna
said that she really liked you…a lot. But she just didn't know
how you felt about her."
"Yeah," Ron chimed in, "Hermione said something the other day about how Luna was convinced you didn't like her except as a friend and she could never tell you how she felt for fear that she would lose you as a friend."
now I knew I was being ganged up on. "What are you two trying to
"Whatever are you talking about?" Ron looked at me with big, innocent eyes.
All I could do was arch an eyebrow at him, cross my arms over my chest and glare.
"O, fine, you're no fun." Harry popped me on the shoulder, "Go tell her how you feel. Now. Before the guests arrive, before we have to get dressed, before anything. Tell her. I don't care how you do it, just do it."
"Why?" I knew Harry was my friend, but honestly, I didn't know why on earth he was being so pushy about all this.
"Because I almost made the mistake of pushing Ginny away for good. I don't want you to live the rest of your life alone or not knowing if Luna loves you as much as you love her." Harry's eyes were sad, then he smiled and looked at me, "I don't remember ever hearing my parents say they loved me. Ginny's the first person, since Sirius, to tell me they loved me. Don't go through life without hearing it, Neville."
My heart sank. I knew how he felt. I'd never heard my parents tell me they loved me either. I still saw them as often as I could. They still had no idea who I was. My Gran never says it, although I know she loves me. It's just not her style.
Harry was right. I had to tell her. I had to know. I stood up, my shoulders back, my jaw set. "Fine," I walked over to the door, "I'll tell her. But if she says no, I will personally kill both of you," I pointed to Ron and Harry, "right after the wedding."
"At least wait until after the honeymoon," Bill joked, elbowing Harry in the ribs, causing him to go red.
"No. Before. It will make me feel better." I left before I could hear what they had to say to that.
(Luna) Why should I think that Neville would think that I liked him. I mean, it's not like we get the chance to talk that often. Why am I so nervous? What's going on? Ginny went inside only five minutes ago. I told her I wanted to sit in the garden for a while. I have a lot to process. Well, maybe not a lot, but enough. How am I supposed to let Neville know how much he means to me? I just feel strange, you know. I guess I'm just a bit old fashioned, but I really would rather him tell me. But what if he doesn't? What if he never does? Dare I cross that line? What if I confess my feelings and he doesn't share them? What if Ginny's just trying to be helpful, trying to be encouraging? I'd hate to lose what friendship we have by telling Neville I love him. I can't sit here anymore. I think I'll go back to the pond. Water always makes me feel better.
(Neville) I can't believe they talked me into this! Did they really, or did I just walk right into their trap and fall for it hook, line, and sinker? Who knows? Who really cares. The important thing is to find Luna. I have to know. If she doesn't share my sentiments, maybe…maybe I can convince her it was just a joke, that everyone thought we cared for one another and I told them I'd prove them wrong so we could get on with our lives. Yeah, that's it! But would I really be able to do that? If she turns me down, if she says she only sees me as a really good friend, would I be able to hide my pain and disappointment enough to convince her I was joking? Of course not. I'm much too transparent for that. Argh! Ginny walked past me as I was leaving. She stopped me, asked me where I was going. I told her I had to go for a walk, clear my head. She smiled and told me Luna was in the garden. Why on earth would she feel the need to tell me that? I think she and Harry share a psychic connection.
I'm standing in the garden now. There's no one here but two fat, ugly gnomes. Why would Ginny lie? She wouldn't, I know that. Why am I so irritable towards everyone? Why are my knees shaking? Why are those blasted butterflies back, turning somersaults in my stomach? And why do I have the sudden, terribly strong urge to take a stroll by the pond? Life is strange, mine is definitely no exception, but this week takes the cake!
(Luna) Ah, that's better. Water on my toes. I can almost feel the stress fall away, splashing as it were into the muddy pond water. A gilly-weed brushed up against my foot. Maybe I'll pick it and give it to Neville. Maybe I'll just close my eyes and pretend Neville doesn't exist, that I don't exist, that I'm just a cloud in that great blue expanse above me and I'm floating without a care in the world, high, high above, where no one can reach me. Where no one can wonder at the affairs of my heart. Maybe Neville will go outside and do some cloud gazing. Maybe he'll see me floating up there and think to himself, "That's the prettiest cloud I've ever seen". Then he'll become a cloud and together we'll drift away, far away from preconceived notions, from prying, well-meaning friends, from convention. We'll just spend our days drifting, getting to know each other through silent conversation and quiet contemplation. I take a deep breath and exhale slowly, letting my shoulders relax, my mind carry me away into the wild blue. Ahhh, that's more like it…
(Neville) I seem to have lost the ability to walk. I know, I've been doing it since I was a year old. So why have I suddenly lost all mobility in the lower half of my body. I was determined, I was encouraged, I was emboldened. Then, just as I rounded the corner of the patch of oak trees, I saw her. She's sitting on a rock, her bare feet playing with the ripples in the pond. Her eyes are closed and she's just sitting there, her porcelain face tilted towards the sky. I wonder what she's thinking. Probably wishing she could float away, like those puffy clouds. I know I do. With a smile on my face I realize, if I could float away, I'd take her with me. Just her. No one else. Harry would have to find another groomsman; Ginny would have to find another singer. Maybe we could float away together one day. Who knows? I laugh silently; heck, no one will ever know if I don't say something now. One more look at her and I have to face the fact : I love her. But dare I let her know?
(Luna) He's standing there, watching me. I'll never be able to explain how I just always know when he's near me. It's like when you draw a hot bath and finally get to sink down up to your shoulders into it after a long, particularly stressful day. That feeling of well-being, of contentment, that nothing (at least for the moment) can go wrong and everything is (or will be) ok. That's the feeling I get when he's near. I don't have to look; he doesn't have to speak. He just has to be.
I can't help but smile. I'm sure he's noticed. I won't spoil it for him. I'll let him continue advancing as slow as he needs to. Truth is, I don't know what I'd say right now if I did open my eyes and confront him. I certainly don't want to scare him away. Funny thought, isn't it? Me scaring him away? True, I've scare plenty of people away, but not just by looking at them. Something tells me if I did look at him right now, he'd freeze, and whatever reason that drove him out here would be lost to panic and he'd leave, perhaps losing the moment forever.
(Neville) She has to know I'm here, she just has to. She always seems to know when I'm around. Funny but I'm able to tell when she's around, too. There's a calmness and stillness to the air when she's near me. Like when you get up really early and are able to sneak out of the house and wander across the yard to the crest of the tallest hill and look down on the sleeping village and world below you. For a moment, you're the king of the world and nothing else matters. For a moment, everything is there for you and you command the very birds in the sky. That's how she makes me feel. Like I could call down lightening from heaven if I had to.
I can't help but smile. A small smile just flitted across her lips. What is she thinking about? I don't want to spoil her moment. O please, please don't let her look at me, not yet. I'm afraid I'll lose all nerve if she turns those huge, blue eyes at me. She's so luminous when they're closed. But when she looks at me, it's like she can see into my soul and everything's illuminated, laid out for her to pick and choose what she may, only nothing would be left behind if only…if only she'd choose my heart.
(Luna) How much closer is he going to get before he speaks? I must admit that I'm enjoying this enigma that is Neville. There's something weighting heavily on his mind. That I am certain of. And it is something that, I believe, concerns me. O…I hope Ginny didn't say anything to him to make him come out here. What if she was just trying to be encouraging? What if Neville only thinks of me as a good friend? Maybe that's why he's here, to clear up any misgivings. I lick my lips and open my eyes. Might as well get it over with.
Neville Longbottom went and stood next to Luna Lovegood. They didn't speak again for a few minutes, just watched the pond and the ripples that Luna's toes and the dragonflies made. Finally, Neville spoke, "Today's the big day."
"Yes, it is. Ginny is very excited."
"So is Harry. He thought he was going to be sick this morning." He chuckled and sat down on the rock next to her, "Ron thought he was going to back out of the wedding and I thought he was going to hit him!"
smiled, "Ron does have a way of over-reacting."
"Not that Harry would even consider running out on his wedding."
Neville shook his head.
"Anyone who looks at them can tell they're in love."
"Funny, how people seem to always think they know what other's are thinking and feeling just by their reactions or outward appearances."
Neville looked at her. Her large, luminous blue eyes were searching his brown ones, but for what, he wasn't certain. Finally she turned away and began splashing the water with a bit more vigor.
"I've had to deal with that a bit myself today," Neville admitted.
"Really," Luna turned her attention back to him. "In what way?"
Neville swallowed hard and began fumbling with his jeans, "O, you know, just about…stuff."
"Stuff," Luna nodded. "But it is rather interesting, as you might say. I've had to deal with it also."
Neville looked quite taken a back. "You have?"
"Mmmm." Luna nodded again, looking up at the clouds, "Yes." She looked at Neville and said, sincerely, "If you need to talk, I'll listen. It can be so frustrating to not have someone to talk too, especially when everything you hear conflicts with your own heart."
Was she reading his mind? How did she always seem to know what he was thinking? Neville shook his head. Perhaps he would never know. But there was one thing he did have to know, and the only way of finding it out was to swallow his fear and spit it out.
"Seems Harry and Ron have it in their heads that I like you." His eyes grew wide. He'd not meant to voice it quite that bluntly. O well. He glanced quickly at her to gauge her reaction. He'd said it. Way to go, Neville. You're even clumsy with your words!
"Really," Luna tossed a small pebble into the pond, "Ginny came to me just this morning, accusing me of the same thing. Not of liking myself," she looked at him seriously, "of liking you."
Neville was finding it hard to breathe. Was the temperature rising or was it just him? Must be the blasted rock he was sitting on. Yeah…that's it.
"Wow. That is interesting."
"Serendipitous," Luna smiled.
They sat in silence for a few more minutes. Neville didn't quite know what to say. He'd never been good at putting his thoughts and feelings into words. The only thing he could talk any length about was plants! And now he'd opened up his mouth and the conversation demanded a resolution of some kind. Luna wasn't being any help. She'd not given away anything. For all he knew, she thought it was all some sort of game their friends were playing and she would play along for the sheer fun of it. Neville began fidgeting with the bottom of his t-shirt.
Luna, for all the serenity she was portraying, was shaking like a leaf. She hoped he couldn't tell, hoped her nervousness was hidden behind her enigmatic smile, her concentration at plucking some grass from around the bottom of the rock. Why did he have to sit so close? Why couldn't he just say something? Did he always smell like fresh tilled soil after a rain storm?
Neville chewed on his upper lip, then his lower. Why did she have to sit so close? Why couldn't he just say something? Did she always smell like a field of spring violets?
They turned to face each other at the same time, started to speak:
"Do you think we-"
"Luna I -"
Neither of them finished their statement. For after they cut short their questions, a bit embarrassed by what they were going to say, Neville pulled Luna gently towards him and kissed her.
How long they stayed that way, they'll never know. It could have been seconds, it could have been years. Gently, ever so gently, she kissed him back. When finally they pulled away, Neville ran his fingers through her long, silvery blond hair and smiled.
"What were you saying, Neville Longbottom?" Luna whispered, smiling up at him, her blue eyes sparkling.
"That I love you." He said it, without any hesitation at all, without a single quiver from the butterflies that usually resided in his stomach whenever he needed to say something important. "That I think we should spend more time together and see where life takes us." He brushed a strand of hair from her face the soft breeze had put there. "What were you going to say."
"O, I was just wondering if you thought we could ever be more than just friends?" She giggled, "I suppose you just answered that question."
He laughed, "I guess I did."
Luna licked her lips and looked away a bit, "So, now what do we do?"
"Well," Neville stood up, helping Luna to her feet. He held both her hands in his and looked down into her face, "I think I should ask you out or something. Maybe we could grab a late dinner after the wedding tonight?"
Luna smiled so big she thought her heart would burst, "I think that could be arranged. How about breakfast tomorrow? And lunch after that? And maybe dinner and dessert tomorrow night?"
Arm in arm they walked back to the house, talking and laughing and making plans. Little did they know that Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione were watching them, had been watching the entire scene unfold from Ginny's bedroom window. They'd decided amongst themselves it was best if Luna and Neville didn't know you could see the pond from that window. With a smile, Harry put his arm around his bride-to-be and Ron did the same with Hermione.
"I wonder if we should tell them we've been spying on them?" Ginny asked.
"What? And risk the wrath of Neville?" Ron asked, horrified, "You didn't see his face when he threatened to kill Harry and me earlier."
Hermione and Ginny laughed. Hermione looked at her watch and said, "Looks like we need to start getting you ready, soon-to-be Mrs. Potter."
"I suppose to. A new beginning. I like that."
The four friends looked out the window just as Neville leaned down and kissed Luna again. "Looks like this day is just full of new beginnings, don't you think?" Hermione said, and together, she and Ginny went to the closet to get her dress out while Ron and Harry left to get ready in Ron's old room.
Down below, in the garden, Luna and Neville grinned, "Do you think we should tell them they make terrible spies?" Neville asked.
"What? And ruin all their fun? I'm certain they think they're the ones who got us together?"
"Did you know you could see the pond from Ginny's window?" He asked.
Luna nodded, "Of course. How do you think I always just happened to go to the pond when you were out there."
"You're full of surprises, Miss Lovegood."
"You have no idea, Mr. Longbottom."
"I'd like to," He said with a grin.
"O, something tells me you will." She put her arm back in his and leaned on him, "You will."
AN: Well! That's it! I hope I didn't throw you for too big of a loop when I decided to write the last bit in third person instead of first. I just felt it would be better to have a more omnipresent view of things. I do hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned for my next fan fiction. Not quite sure where I'll go next, but isn't the mystery half the fun of the writing process? Ciao!