I'm not J.K Rowling and I'm not making any money from this story, all recognisable characters and comments are rightfully J.K Rowlings.
Also, please read and review, I know I've stuffed up a bit of the characterisation but please feel free to correct me on my mistakes and give me some more feedback.
"Neville, you haven't seen my shoes at all have you?" A serene Luna asked from beside the lake.
"Have people started taking them again Luna?" A drenched Neville asked, waist deep in water filling small potion vials.
"No no, I must have misplaced them, that's all." She dismissed.
"Hmm." Was all the man offered in reply.
The war had aged them both, but they were still at school, repeating the last year as was compulsory for all students affected by the Great War.
"Are you going to release the water back from the vials after your homework is given back? You might have a few animals in there that are hiding from your eyes." Luna injected in Neville's concentration.
"Sure Luna." The clear blue sky reflected off of the water and onto Neville's face, making Luna smile to herself, she walked on from her shady spot on the shore to another rocky sunlight area and reached out, scratching the tentacles of the giant squid. Exam's were approaching and everyone was too busy too enjoy this day, even Neville in his concentration was missing the clear skies and still air. "Sad," she thought, "it might relax him a bit."
She stretched her arms up above her head; the warmth around her was making her sleepy. She let her arms sag to her sides, maybe she was too tired from the sun; the world was blurring before her very eyes and suddenly she was encased in darkness.
"Sample number one is the undisturbed water closest to the bottom of the murky depths in the lake, sample two is the midsection and sample three is those closest to the surface, the different organisms, waste, food, salinity and ph levels should be examined closely to discover any discrepancies between here and the other places in the lake, such as the other side." Neville thought to himself, making a mental note to write it down soon just in case he forgot.
"Luna, can you pass me your notebook, I just need to write something down quickly." Neville asked without looking up. "Luna?"
"Madam Pomfrey! She's ill, she collapsed or fell, I'm not sure! Please, please help her!" He cried in great distress, Luna's fragile body in his arms.
"Here, put her on the bed and let me take a look," she waved her wand, checking her vitals. "She's undernourished, exhausted. She'll have to take it easy for a week or so and take some nutrient potions to recover but she'll be well. I'll let her sleep for now. It's best you be off."
"Bu-" He started to complain, but it was no use, she had already left to deal with another patient and he left, just as defeated as he was when he came to school.
Neville couldn't face the rest of the day. He summoned his vials and Luna's notebook from the lake to his dormitory window and shut himself off from the world. A rattling sound comes from beside him and he snaps out of his reverie with a start but it was only the vials in his shaking hands. He couldn't stop trembling; Luna in his arms was just like Colin Creevy and other people he carried in from outside after the war. So much death. "No, stop thinking about this." He mutters to himself; fingers pushing on his temples. This is going to up and kill him if he keeps thinking about it. He struggles to the common room to play wizard chess with Ron, at least the chatter around him keeps him distracted.
Luna had slept soundly for a few hours and once awake was given nourishing potions and told to sleep. But she couldn't, so she lay there, looking out the window and counting the stars.
Around her the few overnight patients had slipped off to sleep. She was focused on the biggest, brightest star she could see. It was her guiding star, in her heart she remembered her Mum when she saw it. "The brightest star for the brightest mind." She thought as tears spilled from her eyes and slipped down her face.
A small indent appeared on the bed beside her. Neville appeared, disillusioning himself. He placed an arm around her gently, as one would hold a china doll. The moon rose higher and higher. Eventually she fell into sleep with Neville beside her.
Hours later with the moon hidden from view Luna awoke to Neville thrashing and moaning in his sleep. "Mum no, don't let them, Harry! Colin! Seamus, hold on! Luna. Luna!" He called urgently.
Luna cradled his head like a baby, "Sshhh. Neville it's ok; I'm here," She murmured in a soft voice. Inspiration struck her and she began singing gently.
"Luna?" Neville awoke completely.
"You had a nightmare." She said, still cradling his head, tears running freely down her face and onto his.
"I'm sorry for upsetting you."
"No it's ok, I get them too, war was horrible. How can we go on? Every bright light, sharp noise and I think 'death'."
"I get that too, I feel like it's all suffocating me. I picked so many people up that night there faces are imprinted behind my eyes, some were still breathing but by the time they were inside they'd gone."
Silence fell between the two friends, each lost in their own painful memories of a time no longer spoken of.
"Sometimes, instead of facing your fears, you have to find the beauty in what you fear and then suddenly it doesn't seem so bad." She spoke softly.
"Luna, how can I find beauty in death, in evil?" Neville whispered through a thick voice.
"Let me show you." She bounded from the bed like a cat, graceful and observant. Taking Neville's hand she walked on. The castle was cold and silent, ghosts glided past occasionally but they paid the pair no attention. The lawns outside looked like velvet, but they made Neville yelp at the coldness. Luna pulled her wand out and muttered under her breath; slippers then encased their feet.
Under the darkness of night Luna pulled Neville closer to the Forbidden Forest. "Luna, I'm not so sure of this." Neville stuttered, the grown man as apprehensive as a boy.
"Death eaters aren't the only things that come from this forest Neville." She spoke ever so sweetly, her voice unearthly, like how she used to be.
The paths in the forest were starting to grow over again from where the Death eaters had forced tracks. Tender green shoots had sprung up everywhere.
"Look Neville." Said Luna pointing it out as they walked.
"I see it Luna but let's go back, please." Neville said desperately but still holding her hand.
"Not to far now." She slid over a mossy tree stump and pulled Neville down onto the forest floor as he slid over it as well. He began to yell out in fright but Luna pointed a pale hand and he understood.
Pure white unicorns stood around in the glade, grazing on grass and small plants. Even the stallion, proud and haughty, had not a scratch on him that could take away from the brilliance of his shine. The mares looked much softer and less fierce, but still had a bright shine to their coats. Neville sat and watched as one mare stretched her neck to get at the grass behind a tree. "She'll come over to me." Breathed Luna in his ear, nodding to another unicorn.
A silver mare, who hadn't reached maturity, came over cautiously to the pair.
"Hey pretty girl, it's just me, I brought a friend this time too." Luna murmured and stroked the face of the unicorn before delicately taking Neville's hand and guiding him to pat the young mare as well. She sighed contentedly and continued feeding on the grass around them. As she walked off Luna slowly got to her feet and pulled Neville up. The unicorns watched for a fraction of a second before moving slightly further away.
Closing her eyes Luna swayed in the wind, humming a peaceful melody. Grabbing Neville she pulled him into a slow waltz.
"Nature can never be evil Neville, this forest doesn't want to hurt you, it's the people who do the damage. There's nothing to be afraid of in shadows."
And she spun out off his arm, twirling like a ballerina, laughing in this place of misery she saw Neville's smile upon his scarred face for the first time that year.