"They're quite interesting creatures, crumple-horned snorkacks."
Neville had been working late in the green house that particular night when he'd heard her voice. He wasn't there by the request of Profesor Sprout: Quite the contrary. He'd been the one to request to take extra care of the plants. She didn't protest for long. Hell, that was less work for her, wasn't it? And Neville Longbottom was definitely a student one could trust. Well, maybe not so much. He was a tad bit clumsy... but still, any plants were in good hands when those hands happened to be his.
"W-what?" The Gryffindor had been very intently studying the leaves of one particular pant for the past fifteen minutes. It wasn't until he snapped out of the trance that he realized he'd been zoning out. He turned, startled, and found that he had a very familiar blonde Ravenclaw to thank: Luna Lovegood. "What was that?" He asked once more, sounding much less jumbled now. "What are you doing out here so late, Luna?"
"Crumple-horned snorkacks. They're attracted to Flitterbloom. That's what that is, isn't it?"
Neville had to glance back at the plant to confirm this, which he did with a rather confused nod. The boy was rather off tonight. To be fair, though, Luna was always off. Still, he was coherent enough to see that the pale girl before him, who was now moving a bit closer to sit across from him, had registered what the plant he was holding happened to be. A smile spread his lips, causing his slight gap in his front teeth that he was so self concious of to be seen. "Yeah, it is. How'd you know?"
"Oh, I quite like herbology. Daddy's written several articals about various magical plants." No doubt, these magical plants were also imaginary ones. Neville left that comment out, however. "Am I intruding?" The usually dreamy faced, young girl suddenly looked a bit troubled. Her head was cocked to the side, causing a few blonde strandes of hair to fall into her concerned eyes. Neville supressed the urge to help her by brushing them from her pale face. Neville was much too polite a person; Often he found himself supressing such urges... Especially in Luna's presence. It was a fact that he prefered not to think much about.
"No! Not at all. I was just... just looking after the plants for Profesor Sprout. Sorry, I'm a bit out of it... But stay, really. I could use s-some company." He stumbled a bit over his words but none of that mattered by the end of the little speech because he just threw her another gap-toothed smile that she returned heartily with her own perfectly spaced teeth. Several moments passed and Neville found himself pretending to be entranced with the Flitterbloom once again while Luna didn't even attempt to hide the fact that she was staring right at him with innocent, wide eyes. Finally, he looked up and spoke again. "You never did answer...Why are you out so late, Luna?"
"I like to take walks at night, sometimes. I know we're not supposed to... but Filch never really catches me. I like to watch the squid. At night, it's tentacles sometimes dart up just a little bit above the surface. Kind of like it's waving or dancing." While she was speaking she had stood and turned, and for a breif moment Neville feared their conversation was over. Luna just began to wander aimlessly about the rows of potted plants, though, her hands clasped behind her while she walked with her eyes closed for a long moment. He feared she might bump something, but the girl seemed to know exactly where she was going. Merlin, she was an odd one.
But that was why he liked her.
"I saw a light on in here and figured there are only two people who care enough about the plants to be out here so late. You, and Profesor Sprout. I figured I'd take my chances and hoped it was you." Her words made his heart leap, though Neville was quite confident she meant nothing by them. Luna lacked tact, much like him. She wasn't flirting... she was just brave enough to always say what she was thinking, never ashamed, no matter what. Neville envied her and wondered whether or not he really belonged in his current house if the Ravenclaw had more guts than him. Sure, she was a bit loopy and it was sometimes questionable to people if she had enough brains to be in Ravenclas (Neville NEVER doubted her worth in the house, though.) but she definitely possessed more Gryffindor traits than he did. The thought itself caused him to sigh, which caused her to turn and open her eyes. They were a peircing blue, filled with curiosity. "Are you certain you're alright? Have wrackspurts made you go fuzzy?"
Neville grinned, in spite of himself. There was Luna again, always convinced of the most ridiculous things. Still, they weren't so ridiculous to him. Who said such creatures couldn't exist? Why not? And why couldn't he be brave, just for once, like a real Gryffindor? If Luna was always so convicted, so brave, why couldn't he try it?
"It's n-nothing. Really, Luna. Just thinking." He answered very honestly. She looked a bit more assured, though she made her way back towards him with that curiosity still shining in her eyes. He wondered if that was a new look on her or if she always looked so questioning and he'd just never noticed before. He doubted that. Neville Longbottom often noticed Luna.
"It's getting late. Would you like to walk back with me? We might be able to see the squid once more if we hurry..." The only response she received was a shy nod and a smile, both very often seen coming from the boy.
"Let me just finish up and we'll go." Luna waited patiently while Neville gathered his things and placed everything back very orderly. She was staring out into the darkness through the glass window when he finally joined her. "Ready?" He asked in a meek voice. Why did he always speak so soft? He asked himself this question often. Luna spoke soft quite a lot, but not in the same way. His words were meek while her's were only spoken so quietly because there was never a need for her to yell; Whether people listened to her or not didn't matter to her. She'd say whatever she liked anyways. Neville always listened, though.
Why was it this Ravenclaw girl was so completely herself? She had no qualms about being Luna Lovegood. She hid nothing from the world. She bravely faced Hogwarts every day, never minding the mean things people said. Neville wasn't so strong. He was tired of being so very shy about everything. He needed a dose of Luna, and he knew it.
Perhaps it would rub off on him as he took her hand. She didn't even look up when he stole it away from her. It was a spur of the moment action, really, one brought on by his need to be brave-if only for a moment. It lasted more than a moment, though. Luna didn't tug away as he'd feared.
He was so very grateful that it was dark because his cheeks were an odd shade of fuscia at that point. They trodded on, hand in hand, grass crunching lightly underfoot. "There." Was the first word spoken in a long while as they passed the lake. Luna's free hand was outstretched as she said it, pointing at the water's surface. Sure enough, a ghostly pale tentacle rose from the water before submerging itself again as if it were truely waving at them.
Neither of the pair said anything as they walked through the castle halls. Neville was uneasy, his stomach full of butterflies. Every time his eyes darted to Luna, she seemed so much more composed; Almost as if she were in another world, not here, holding his hand. The idea just made him more nervous until the moments where she would glance over and catch him looking at her. A small smile flushed across her pink lips and for a moment everything would be alright, even though the butterflies refused to subside. Neville quite liked those butterflies, though. Almost as much as he quite liked the girl who's hand he held.
He walked as far as all the way up to the Ravenclaw common room with her. At first, she'd tried to steer them towards the Gryffindor's portrait hole. He passed it without a thought and there was no question among them. Still, no words were spoken.
Even as they readied to part, they were silent. His hand was dropped without any real reluctance but Luna stood still in the open corridor, turning to face him. Her lips were parted to speak, but her words were lost as other lips met them. Neville Longbottom was tired of being the coward of Gryffindor house. Tonight, he'd be more like the girl he admired so much. He'd do exactly what he wanted to do: Kiss her. And she, like she always did, did just whatever the hell she wanted. She kissed him back. It was soft and dream like, the way a kiss with a girl like her could only be imagined to be like.
When they did part, only a few quiet words were spoken. "Good night, Neville." She murmered, sounding rather serene and content, before ascending the final few steps to depart.
"Good night, Luna." Neville whispered right back. His voice was quiet, same as always, though this time it was not because he was shy or frightened. He kept his voice low because he knew he didn't need it any higher when talking to her. She would listen.