Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter this ship would be canon. Therefore I don't. Enjoy!
She was barefoot at the wedding.
I do not think - even to this day, and I assure you it has been many years from then to now - that she knew I had seen her standing there, against the trees, dirty blond hair flying behind her in the October wind; if she did then she hid it well, she did not look up, she stared to the grass, where her toes were tangled in the bright green blades.
In retrospect I should have known then to walk away. I might not be the smartest guy in the world, the most tuned in, but I know when is a good time to realise you were in love with someone. And when is not. On the day of your wedding to another woman falls under the latter category.
I drew my eyes away from her eventually, with much reluctance and with a pain that tugged upon my heart with such fervent force that I feared it may be pulled from my chest. I had to look away. My bride was walking down the aisle. By then, it was too late to walk away.
When I looked up again, my vows said, a ring on my finger, she was gone.
I should have been used to her leaving by then. She had done it before; the irony lay in the fact that those abrupt departures were both the reason I married Hannah in the first place and the reason I had to restrain myself from abandoning my new wife just minutes after we wed. But I had waited for her once before, I wasn't going to do it again; so I carried on with my life, we cut the cake, I made a speech and when I awoke with the next morning with my wife's arm slung across me, the gold band on her left ring-finger glittering in the just-risen sun, I accepted life as a married man and continued on as normal. I did not let the image of her enter my mind, not for years. Only my dreams did she invade. Only then I let my guard down.
I loved Hannah. I really did. Over the years, during that first absence, the Hufflepuff girl who I had known as a child became a closer friend than I could ever have imagined and somewhere along the way we fell for one another. We dated. I asked her to marry me. She said yes. And I thought that was what I wanted; I was perfectly convinced of that fact until she crash-landed back into my life. Hannah has said since that even she knew that there would always be a special place in my heart that was holding out for that blond-haired woman who always went barefoot. My wife always knew that she would be second best. Hannah always says that with a bitter edge to her voice. I can't blame her, really.
And I know that I should never have expected anything - nor should anyone else - because she and I were never a proper couple the way that me and Hannah became. She took her hand in mine after that final battle and in a figurative sense she never let go. Then when she asked if she could sleep on my sofa one night when I was about twenty I allowed her - and she never left. The transition from the sofa to my bed is something I can't remember; but I know it happened suddenly, all the while making perfect sense. And for about two years we kissed and made love, not once questioning what we were.
That should have made it ending easier.
It didn't. Over breakfast one morning she casually mentioned that she would be needing a new suitcase, and that maybe we should go to a muggle shop and buy one after lunch.
Because, Neville, her long blond hair was dipping in her cereal bowl, I will always remember that, I'm going around the world. Doing some research for daddy, maybe getting a few pictures. There's a pretty reliable source says that breeding for Crumple Horned Snorkacks is on the up in Sweden, maybe I'll get a picture of a baby one - didn't I tell you? No? Oh … well I'll be gone a year or so. Do we have any more Pumpkin Juice?
We went to the muggle shop, we bought that suitcase and within a week she had packed and left.
I got a job at Hogwarts and it was during my first term that I encountered Hannah in Hogsmede. Over the weeks and months we became closer and eventually I asked her on a date. It was something I had never done before, not even for her. One date became two, seeing each other became boyfriend and girlfriend (the idea of titles was strange to me) and, after a year, Hannah became my fiancée.
In that year, I had not had a single owl from her. So I forgot, and even when she returned to the country I met the news with cold indifference. Ginny told me about Rolf. I shrugged and told my friend that, 'I really must be going, but thanks for the meal and congratulations on the baby.'
And so it became that my wedding day was the first time I had seen her in three years.
Fifteen years after that, I came, rather unexpectedly, face to face with her. At another wedding, this time Harry's godson's. For the first time in 18 years, I looked the woman I loved straight in the eyes. I was 40, she 39. We were both alone.
Neville, she breathed.
Luna, I replied, strained politeness in my voice, How is Rolf? How are the boys?
The boys are great … as for Rolf … well, I don't know. We've been divorced for two years you see.
Oh, I'm sorry.
Don't be. How is Hannah?
We're … friends. The marriage lasted about five years.
So neither of our marriages worked out … you know why I think that is Neville?
Cause you and I are meant for each other.
So like her. Without another word she led me to the dance floor and there we stayed all night, clasped to one another. I asked her not to leave me again. She promised she wouldn't.
And what did I do about her, she who had caused me agony for most of my adult life? Who the mere memory of had destroyed my marriage, kept me awake at night as I yearned for her to be lying beside me?
I did what any lovesick fool would have.
I married her.
She was barefoot at the wedding.
Authors Note: First time writing this ship; probably last, too! Thoughts?