There was a certain gloom that hung in the Room of Requirement. The majority of its refugees slept peacefully, blissfully passing to the new day in peaceful dreams. Over the last several months, the room had sustained the ever-increasing population of those otherwise destined to doom at the hand of the Death Eaters. Amycus and Alecto had no qualms about torturing students; on the contrary, they found any excuse to drain the life and liveliness out of the most cheerful of souls. Colin would never quite be the same again.
Neville rubbed his forehead as he rolled over. He had lost count of the nights he'd spent laying here, pleading with his body for the rest it refused to provide him. He'd been feeling quite ill for several days now. The only relief he'd had in the time was at the hand of kindness from a blonde Ravenclaw. After she'd learned of his condition, she'd hardly left his side. Admittedly, her mere presence made him feel a bit better, but he still felt as though he were trapped in an oven, like his body had been set aflame.
He felt guilty, though. She had tended to him constantly – so much so that she had been with him through the night, depriving herself of sleep to lessen his discomfort. She had left him for a moment, just to acquire more water to dampen the cloth for his forehead. It seemed to help lessen the fever a little, though the dampness of the cloth, mixed with sweat, had made his hair a little sticky. He took a deep breath and sighed his appreciation.
Neville heard soft footsteps and recognised them instantly as hers. The little light that passed in from outside caused an angelic glow to surround Luna. He looked into her sparkling eyes and smiled weakly. He'd been noticing, with increasing frequency, that she was remarkably beautiful. Even now, he mused, the darkening circles beneath her eyes matched the colour of her unique earrings and gave life to her countenance. She took a seat beside him and began to dab his forehead.
"You should really get some sleep," Neville whispered as her fingers ran through his hair, pulling it free of his eyes. He placed his hand on hers. "Don't worry about me." She placed her unoccupied hand on his chest, tracing circles around the buttons of his pyjamas. Her eyes trailed away from him; she was contemplating something. In that moment an idea came to Neville; before she turned her head again, he closed his eyes and slowed his breaths.
There was a moment of silence; her small hand ceased its movement, resting on his side. Setting the cloth aside, she stroked his cheek.
"Neville?" she spoke softly, as though to avoid waking him. He lay perfectly still, the only movement the rise and fall of his chest. He expected her to leave him, to get sleep of her own. He wasn't sure why, though.
She didn't, but instead rested her head on his chest.
"I like that you listen to me," Luna said, her usual dreaminess swimming between each of her words. "No one really does anymore." She sighed. Her words were breaking his heart. She must have felt so alone. "I know it's selfish of me, to have you all alone with me like this." Neville's head began to hurt. Surely it had been selfish of him to let her take care of him as long as she had. "I just care about you. You're a really good friend to me."
Neville found that he cared about her, too. There was something profound about the connection he felt between them; a distinct stirring within his heart that begged him to speak her name.
"Maybe it's...," her voice trailed off. She thought a while, then, finding more strength, spoke the thoughts of her mind and the feelings of her heart. "I think I love you."
A great excitement surged through Neville's body. He prayed she wouldn't notice the franticness of his heartbeat.
"No." His heart sank. Perhaps she didn't love him after all. "I'm sure I do."
Neville wrapped his arm around her, pulling her toward him. Luna, eyes full of innocence, let herself join him on the bed, her body resting lightly on his. Neville's eyes were open.
"Hi." It was the only word she had.
"Luna?" He was smiling more than she had ever seen him smile before.
"I love you, too." A tear traced its path down her cheek and fell to his. He loved her, too. Her mind was flooded by the workings of utter felicity.
"Really?" she asked.
In that moment, without thought, Neville moved his hand smoothly up her body, following each curve till it reached the small of her back. He pulled her closer, touched her cheek, and then did what neither of them expected. He tilted his head, raising his lips to hers, and then kissed her softly. Luna looked startled.
"The Nargles made me do it." It was the only excuse that came to his mind. He could feel his cheeks warming as he blushed. He swallowed thickly.
"The Nargles?" she laughed, nearly giggling. She gave him a very amusing stare, then slipped her hand around the cork necklace she wore. In a matter of seconds, it left her neck bare, exposing more of her beautiful skin. She cast it aside, curled several strands of hair behind her ear, then leaned toward him.
"The Nargles," she whispered, kissing him with just a hint of passion. Suddenly Neville didn't feel very sick at all.
Author's Note: This is a complete re-write of a story I posted here a while back. I hope you enjoyed. Please review.