A/N: This one just started writing itself. It's my try at a more "real" Luna - a Luna who is not broken in spirit like in "Hedera Amoris". I hope I got it right, or at least, rather close to right, being as she's a bit older here than in the books. And it's a narrative style I've not really played with before - the foreshadowing and blunt nature of the statements, rather than describing a feeling, just stating its existence. Then, maybe that's my attempt at Luna leaking out into the rest of the narrative - blunt and unapologetic. Leave some review love! No intention to continue it, I don't think - I think, rather, it would suffer and become too cheesy, and I definitely wouldn't be able to keep up the style. But this is total fluff, really - as fluffy as Luna might get, that is.
Ginny Potter prided herself on being rarely surprised by anything.
She supposed it was growing up in a house full of older brothers who, with one exception, were terribly fond of practical jokes. And, fortunately or not, depending on her mood, she had birthed one son who was similarly inclined, and another who wasn't all that discouraging, but was rather often instigating, in the nature and frequency of these pranks.
Ginny Potter was prepared for anything.
She took this for granted, which probably wasn't her best idea ever.
# # # # #
"Neville's invited us over for supper," she mentioned over the din of her children's squabbling to her husband, who was intricately involved in discouraging the jabbing of a fork in the direction of a brother's eye, no matter how important the point in the making really was.
"He has, has he? That's nice. Stop that right now, Lily."
"Hmm. He says he has some news."
"News? What sort of news? Now Albus, I'll have you mind that butter knife. No, I don't care if it is blunt. No, she is not going to stab you in the eye with her fork. Stop it, Lily."
"Yes. Wouldn't tell me even when I Flooed him though."
"Hmm. That's nice dear. Thank you, Lily. Now eat your ham."
Ginny just nodded and passed the potatoes, which had come to a halt beside Albus's plate, and James definitely wanted at least one potato before they all got cold.
# # # # #
Hermione Weasley's parents were not Catholic. Thankfully, Church of England was much more forgiving of things like witchcraft and wizardry, but it did not deter the sentiment that one should not take the Lord's name in vain.
She was very good at minding her parents, and even long after she ceased to live under their roof, she kept to that rule. It wasn't something she concentrated on keeping to; just something she always had kept to, and saw no reason to throw it around.
In fact, she saw no reason to throw any sort of language around. Of course, this seemed to, in no way, apply to her husband, who had a rather foul mouth when the mood struck him, lending itself to Rose's first word being "bollocks."
This had not impressed her.
# # # # #
"Ron, you don't have anything going on next Thursday, do you?" She looked up from her desk in the living room, where her husband was feigning sleep on the chaise lounge, his feet propped up on the coffee table, his hands folded on his stomach, and his head tipped backwards.
"I don't know, do I?"
"Well if I knew that, I wouldn't've asked, now would I?"
He kept his eyes closed and his voice calm, despite her rising pitch. "Hermione, you are the end all be all of my schedule. If I had something going on and even considered not telling you, I'd feel some strange pull to iron my ears. Like a house elf."
He smiled, eyes still closed, and she narrowed her eyes at him, and threw a wadded up bit of paper, hitting him in the nose.
Just because she never played Quidditch didn't mean she didn't have some sort of aim.
He chuckled, feeling the projectile roll off his shoulder. "Why? What are we doing next Thursday?"
"Neville's invited us over for supper."
"That's nice, dear."
"Hmm." She agreed.
# # # # #
Neville Longbottom led a full and happy life.
Yes, a full life, full of lesson plans and submitting papers to the British Journal of Herbological Science, the English Potions Quarterly, and occasionally to the wider audiences of the European Journal of Herbology. And a happy life, a life full of students and greenhouses that, while technically, they did belong to Hogwarts, were entirely in his care, and friends who included him in their lives.
Friends who had husbands, and wives, and children.
No, no, he definitely had a full and happy life. Yes. A full life, a happy life.
Well. Mostly happy. More full than happy, if one really was splitting hairs, as they say.
Oh, he dated. Yes, he was the subject of many a blind date set up by his friends (the ones with wives, and husbands, and moppets by the handful), and one or two that he instigated himself, to his own continued surprise.
Neville Longbottom was just not very good with people. Well, if one was to get specific, with girl people. No, woman people. He supposed his ill ease with girl-people had developed into his ill-ease with woman people.
It had absolutely nothing to do with Luna Lovegood.
Absolutely nothing at all.
# # # # #
When his doorbell rang, he had been amidst correcting exams for his second years. He prided himself on their fine marks; admitting that perhaps, after all these years, this teaching thing was finally sinking in.
When he answered his door, in retrospect, Neville Longbottom was very glad he had developed a bit of a backbone during his last year at Hogwarts, and had not lost it since; though it may have become slightly squishy from disuse. No need for heroics these days. That being said, he was very glad he was no longer the sort of boy (man) who might wet himself if sufficiently scared and surprised simultaneously.
He was nearly plowed over by a small girl, brown haired, who launched herself at his person, and wrapped her arms around his waist. His hands went down to steady the child, and himself.
He simply had no words. There were absolutely no syllables wresting for the chance to emerge from his mouth.
"May we come in? Not that the doorstep isn't lovely. It is. I enjoy your rhododendrons very much. I would watch them though. Some are awfully susceptible to bribery. But it is a little chilly out here."
"Um," was all he managed to utter, and tried to move aside, making room in the doorway, but for the impediment of child-attached-to-knees.
"Jasper, do let go of your father. He cannot let us in if you are clinging to him like some sort of displaced Tripidilly."
# # # # #
Luna Lovegood was not the sort to be tied down. Romantically, or otherwise. She had places to go, things to seek out.
But Neville Longbottom was such a nice boy. And she felt she didn't want to leave on her great adventures before finding out what it was like to kiss him.
And so she did.
And during her seventh and final year at Hogwarts, he came back to visit, along with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. And she felt she didn't want to leave on her great adventures before finding out if perhaps he was interested in more than kissing.
With very little pomp or circumstance, she found out he was. And so they did.
She had a great long list of things she must discover, for her father had to stay home and mind The Quibbler, and he desperately needed "a field man". She said she'd love to be his field man.
So she left England, bound for points beyond.
She found it rather funny that one night could change her life. Not that it was all that strange in theory, because there were many pivotal points in human (wizard or not) history where one tiny event changed the course of history.
Of course, just because one was pregnant, was no reason to give up one's life and aspirations – it was, rather, an inspiration rather Dickensian in nature – success against all odds.
And Luna Lovegood liked a bit of bad odds now and again.
# # # # #
Jasper Lovegood had never had proper schooling. She learned everything her mother taught her, from the mundane like which plants and berries were okay to eat, to the more wonderful, like how to know when you were looking at a Crumple-Horned Snorkack.
She had never seen any of those things personally. But her mother said they were there.
So she believed her.
They had been in Mexico when she asked her mother who her father was. She was six.
Her mother had told her her father was a very brave man, living in Scotland. He was a professor (which sounded a very noble profession, really), and he had brown hair, just like her.
She had smiled, and touched her hair, no longer wishing it was the pretty yellow-white color of her mother's. It was just like her father's. And that was very fine with her.
They had been in South Africa when she was eight, and she asked if they ever might visit him.
And her mother had replied "one day soon".
Luckily for Jasper, that day came just shy of her ninth birthday.
# # # # #
"Lu-luna! What-what are you d-d-doing here?" He stuttered, and flushed. It had been years since he stuttered. He licked his lips in the hope of giving himself pause so as to not bite his tongue off with nervousness.
"Well, if Jasper is to get her Hogwarts letter, she should really be close by. Never know when an owl might get lost in the wilds of the Indian jungles. Don't particularly want to take the risk."
"Daddy, may I have a glass of water?"
Neville looked down at the little girl, with big blue eyes, and brown hair a shade very similar to his own, the color of chestnuts. He was still confused by her address of him, and so he did what he could do without too much thought.
"Yes. Of-of course." And he opened a cupboard door, got down a juice glass, turned on the tap, and filled it with water. He handed it to the child, who clasped both hands around it, and tipped it back, drinking it all at once.
She handed the glass back to him, and pulled back a chair in his tiny kitchen, and sat at the table, her hands folded together on the table. She was a picture of good manners.
"H-how old i-i-is sh-she?"
"Nine, I should think."
"Well, she wouldn't attend Hogwarts until she was eleven, now would she?"
"This is true. And that is a couple of years off, indeed." Luna seemed pensive. "I suppose I wanted her to meet you. She's been asking about you."
"A-as-asking about m-me?"
"Of course. Why shouldn't she? Though we haven't spent our time around a great many traditional English families, she is familiar with the concept of a father. Would you like me to put the kettle on? I would fancy some tea myself."
"An-an-and I'm her f-f-father?"
"Yes, Neville. I would have thought it was obvious."
He simply looked at her. In an effort to ground himself in something, anything, that made any sort of sense, he turned away wordlessly, and grabbed the kettle off the hob and filled it with water. He set it back on the burner, and clicked the burner on. He pulled out his teapot, and two, no, three, cups, and set them all on the tea tray.
Then he walked around the table, pulled out the chair across the table from the little girl, and sat down hard, and put his face in his hands. He let out a deep sigh.
"Something wrong, Neville?"
Neville Longbottom was a calm man. He was generally not overcome by flashes of any great emotion whatsoever. Nor was he a whiner. Even so, it took great effort not to yell indignantly that yes, something was very wrong, because one does not just show up on one's doorstep after nine years of nary a single letter, assuming one just knows that one has had a child the entire time.
So instead of yelling, instead of being indignant, he simply dragged his fingers down his face, resting his head on the heels of his palms.
He watched as the child across the table from him mimicked his gesture.
He let out a deep sigh, and the girl did the same.
He did not break eye contact with the girl when he spoke. "How do you know she's mine?"
"Well Neville, I had thought you were familiar with the concept. You did seem awfully familiar with the mechanics," she said with a wistful smile.
He was surprised by her tone, and looked sharply up at her.
"I-I-I w-wasn't! You were the!" He stopped himself.
She smiled. "Oh Neville, that is sweet." Then she leaned down and kissed his forehead. "Me too. That's how I know."
He stared some more at the girl, who still rested her head on her hands, and was kicking her legs back and forth under the table. She grinned at him, and he saw she had a tooth missing.
Luna shrugged. "I don't like to plan things, Neville. Plans always get in the way."
# # # # #
When his doorbell rang this time, Neville Longbottom was expecting company.
Ginny and Harry and Hermione and Ron arrived together, and there was a round of hugs and kissed greetings, and cloaks were shrugged off and hung by the door.
"What's that smell?" Ginny asked.
"Oh, I have no idea," he replied distractedly, arranging more cloaks than was generally acceptable on so few hooks.
Hermione cocked her head in amusement. "You have no idea? I hope you don't mean to feed us that then!"
"Well, she picked up some strange recipes, I'll admit, but so far, I'm not dead."
"She?" Harry grinned and elbowed his friend in the ribs. "She? What she is this now, eh, you sly codger?"
"Got 'er cookin' for you already, eh mate? Short work. Nice job." Ron winked over the heads of the women, and even gave him a thumb up. But his wife had eyes in the back of her head, and she elbowed him in the sternum.
Ron, however, did not seem overly surprised. His wife did have a bit of a violent streak.
However, that capability to be surprised was somewhere in his mind, and it showed itself soon enough, when the she in question emerged from the kitchen into the mudroom, grinning and wringing a towel between her hands.
The she in question was dressed in a kitchen apron, but that is where the domesticity ended. She wore bright green tights with pink horizontal stripes and no shoes, and from under the apron could be seen a bright navy skirt, edged with shiny gold lace, and a lavender top with a simply Victorian number of ruffles. Her head was adorned by a turban in bright red and gold, and in her left ear was a bit of clay shaped like a lemon, whereas from the right hung a small, red, clay lobster, swinging wildly and making an attempt at her earlobe with its tiny pincers.
"Luna!" Harry exclaimed.
"Yes. Luna. You remember Luna? Luna Lovegood?" Neville managed not to stammer. And he was very proud of that fact.
Luna was summarily embraced by all four guests, but they'd barely had time for small talk, when someone else made their presence known.
"People! Hullo! Hullo new people!" And each of the four guests were hugged around the waist, or knees, depending on height, and greeted as "hullo new person".
Ron Weasley, who loved children, even those not his own, ruffled the child's hair. "And who's this now?"
"This is Jasper," Neville took her by the shoulders, and stood her in front of him. "This is Luna's, er, my, er, our daughter."
Ginny Potter was not surprised by anything. But her mouth hung open so much so that Luna tapped her on the shoulder and expressed her worry that continuing to do so might attract Nargles.
Hermione Weasley never took the Lord's name in vain, and never cussed. So even her husband was momentarily shocked when she said what they all were thinking.
"Jesus bloody Christ."