If you didn't read the summary, this is a one-shot of Neville and Luna, and a moderately fluffy one, at that. It takes place in Neville's fourth year, from Neville's point of view. Disclaimer: I solemnly swear that I don't own anything of J.K. Rowlings. Enjoy!
Resigned, I follow Professor Moody back to his classroom. I never want to go back there again, not ever, not after what I saw him do. But I have to. Not just because he's gripping my shoulder so tight that I have no choice but to follow him; I have to go so I can learn how to stop . . . that.
"That's the spirit, lad," he grunts, almost shoving me through the doorway of his office. Can that eye of his see a change in resolve?
"Here," he grunts again. "Thought this book might interest you. Sit down, sit down," he says impatiently.
The book he's given me is a Herbology book. Already I'm pleased; Professor Sprout must have mentioned me to him. Flipping the pages, I see it's all about magical plants of the Mediterranean. All I want now is to go up to my dorm and start reading. "May I be excused, sir?"
He chuckles. "Go ahead. Glad you're feeling better."
Feeling better? It takes me a second to remember what he's talking about.
It comes back later though, that sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach. I've never seen anyone use the Cruciatus Curse. So that's how they cracked, I think miserably. Just like that spider. I'm in a corridor of the Astronomy Tower, and, since no one's around, I give up and put my head in my hands.
I stay like that for a while, trying not to think about my parents. It doesn't work. Even listing all the ways to punish Bellatrix Lestrange doesn't work like it usually does.
"Hello?" A dreamy voice calls. I straighten up immediately. "Oh, hello, Neville."
"You know me?"
"Oh, yes, Ginny's told me about you," she says complacently. "I thought I heard muttering."
"That'd be me." I gesture to the empty corridor.
"What were you muttering about?" She sits down serenely, leaving me no choice but to sit down too. Who is this? I wonder.
"Who are you?" I blurt out.
"I'm Luna Lovegood," she replies simply.
Ah. I've heard of her. Loony Lovegood, they call her. I feel bad for thinking that name; she seems nice, even if she does have radishes in her ears. She's looking me intently, and I realize that hse wants me to answer her earlier question.
"Oh! Erm, nothing."
"Nothing comes from nothing, you know," she tells me in a sing-song voice. "You can tell me, you know. I won't laugh. And it's not as though I'd tell anyone else."
"There's no one to tell," she says, almost to herself.
"Well, if you really won't tell . . ." I feel obligated to her now. She's already confided in me, at least in her implications (Hermione taught me that word). "I was muttering about ways to punish Bellatrix Lestrange. A Death Eater," I add, not sure if she knows the name.
I knew she'd ask this, but it'll be harder to tell her. Saying it aloud makes it realer. "Because . . . because she tortured my parents." I pause, collecting myself. "To insanity."
She doesn't say anything, just puts a hand on my shoulder and leaves. But when I open my new book later, a strange, dried flower falls out. I can't find the plant in any of my books, and Professor Sprout is too busy with the mandrakes to help me. When I confront Luna, she says that it's the flower of a Gurdyroot plant.
"It helps with grief and wards against Nargles," she tells me matter-of-factly when I finally find her outside one of the greenhouses. In spite of myself, I take the plant back and smile as she floats away.
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