Authors note: This is the sequel to "Neville's Fountain", but it you don't have to read the first to understand this one, although it is suggested. Please read and review. More chapters will be coming up.
Neville's Fair Fortune
Neville sat in the Great Hall, the sword of Gryffindor beside his plate. There was a rather large gaggle of people surrounding him and for once in his life he felt as if he had accomplished something. Only hours before, he had felt the true bravery that had him sorted into his house in his first year; only hours before he had been a hero; only hours before he had sliced of the head of He-who-must-not-be-named – aw, hell, he thought, Voldemort's! snake, following the instructions Harry had given him before he had died. Except that Harry hadn't been dead, but it didn't matter. Neville Longbottom had had his moment.
Owls were swooping in and out of the Hall, as students and teachers alike tried to make quick correspondence with their family and friends. A large amount of students' family members had already arrived and were sitting with them. Neville had seen a certain blonde girl send a brown school owl, presumably to her father. He himself had sent an owl to his grandmother, but didn't expect a reply anytime fairly soon. She was, after all, on the run from Death Eaters. Suddenly, it hit him that the Death Eaters wouldn't be a problem ever again. Sure, he thought, the Ministry'll have one hell of a time tracking them all down, and the trials will be long and complicated, but everyone is finally free.
Time passed as he marveled in his epiphany, not really hearing the praises being thrown at him, and answering questions with a polite detachment.
Over the buzzing of the multitude of people in the Hall he heard a wonderfully familiar voice call out in its dreamy way, "Oooh, look, a Blibbering Humdinger!" For a moment he had to fight the urge to look up, but he was so hungry that it wasn't hard. Besides, he knew Luna, and she would come to him; she had an uncanny way of knowing exactly when he needed her.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, Neville saw the beautiful silvery-gray eyes staring at him, their owner having just managed to push through the crowd of admirers that had flocked around him all morning. He took a swig of pumpkin juice to make sure he didn't have any sausage left in his mouth, and said, "Erm, Luna, would you come with me for a minute?" at the same time that Luna had said, "Can I ask you something?" They stared at each other for a moment, looks of surprise on each other's faces, before the blonde let out a soft laugh.
"Let's take a walk, then?" she asked in an almost whisper, nodding her head towards the grounds.
"Ok… Erm… What do I do with the sword?" he asked, motioning towards the table. Seamus Finnigan heard, and spoke up.
"I'll take it! Dean, get over here, we get to watch the sword for Neville!"
Before more people could start jostling and shoving to try to reach the ruby encrusted hilt, Seamus snatched it up, winked at Neville with his good, non-blackened eye, and disappeared into the crowd.
Neville and Luna tried to slip away unnoticed, but with his new found fan base, this proved to be easier said than done. Hannah Abbot was particularly interested in him, and was practically clinging to his arm. He didn't want to have the conversation he knew was coming – not with Luna standing right there – but there didn't seem to be any way to avoid it. Sighing, he turned to Hannah, his ex-girlfriend. He had gone out with her shortly after Christmas break, when Luna hadn't been around and he hadn't had all of his free thoughts be occupied by her. He had quite liked Hannah, but after Easter, when Ginny had disappeared and Luna was still missing, he had given up trying to make things work with Hannah. He had broken up with her, an action that Justin Finch-Fletchley had been surprisingly happy with.
Neville wanted to say: It's over. Please, accept it? Look, I don't want to hurt you, but I can't do it anymore. You are cute, you are clever, you are funny, but we broke up. Remember? And I told you why. You agreed that it was best, but here you are, trying to get me back. Please, just let me go. He even took a deep breath and opened his mouth, but before he could get anywhere with it, Luna came to his rescue.
"I'm sorry, Hannah, but I really need to steal Neville for a moment. I need to ask him something, and I think Justin wants your attention." This was true. Justin was trying – rather unsuccessfully – to make his way through the crowd, his eyes trained distinctly on Hannah. "I think he fancies you," Luna declared in a matter-of-fact tone that left a blush on Hannah's rather round face. Neville took advantage of her embarrassment and detached himself from her grip, and he and Luna darted through the large amount of people milling about. He found he was laughing, remembering the look on Hannah's face.
Finally they had escaped the hall, and were soon out on the Hogwarts grounds. Without talking, the two teenagers fell in step and made their way towards the lake. From where they were they could see the giant squid floating on the surface of the water, basking in the sun.
Neville wanted to reach out and take Luna's hand and pull her in for a hug, but he didn't think she would feel the sparks he felt whenever he touched her. She would hug back and maybe even continue to hold his hand, but he knew her feelings for him were purely platonic. He even had a sneaking suspicion that she fancied Dean; he had seen him take her hand as they ran out of the Room of Requirement before the Battle. Neville's heart contracted.
They reached cliff that overlooked the lake and they each sat down, dangling their legs over the side. Luna closed her eyes and turned her face towards the sky, which was beautifully blue and mostly cloudless. Neville stared at her, entranced by the way the sun bounced off of her skin and how the tiniest smile made her look so wonderfully content. She was leaning back on her arms, and her fingers were splayed, and he had to keep fighting the urge to trace his index finger over her hand. This was the first time he had gotten a chance to really look at her in months, and he realized just how much he had missed her.
"You, er, wanted to talk to me?" he asked. She turned to face him.
"I wrote to my father this morning. His reply came quickly, considering that the Death Eaters had him. Although I suppose that all of Voldemort's supporters would have fled, now that he's dead and all… Anyways, he said I can't come home when school lets out. Apparently my room – along with the Crumple-Horned Snorkack horn – has exploded. It's a real shame, that horn was extremely rare."
"I don't think I follow your point. What does the Crumpled thingy have to do with your dad not being able to take you?"
"Crumpled-Horned Snorkack, and the point is, my father has to fix our house before I can come home. He would be done before school lets out, but he has to go to Wales to find the man who sold him the Snorkack horn, because Hermione Granger said it was really an Erumpent horn."
"Why is he doing that first? Why not fix the house first?"
"The horn is more important, of course. Snorkacks are awfully rare and he hopes to write a follow-up article on them in The Quibbler as soon as possible. It is alright, I just don't know where I'm going to stay. I could ask the Weasleys, except with Fred's death, I'd rather not impose." Her dreamy, faraway voice floated through the air and contrasted sharply with her words. Her eyes were as wide as always, but for the first time ever, Neville was almost positive they were shining with tears. She was looking away from him again, facing towards the lake, but he was sure she was close to crying.
Before he could think, before he could rationalize, he scooted closer to her, took her hand, and blurted out, "Why don't you stay with me and Gran?"
Luna didn't react at first, and Neville quickly regretted offering, thinking himself stupid and obvious. When she slowly turned her face to his, her eyes following, he blushed profoundly. However, a smile was spreading across her face.
" I think… I think I would love that."