House Category: Ravenclaw
Beta Reader(s): roseofthewest
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
Summary: Luna always has a reason for the things she chooses to do.
Every year, Luna would walk out to the shed where her mother's last, failed potion had infused the sand on the ground. The sands glowed malevolently, and Luna knew they still held sway over her and her life. She knew as well that lives had to be lived and lost before she could break free.
"I better find Luna and tell her I fancy her before I don't get the chance!" Neville Longbottom commented absently to himself on the staircase past the entrance to the Great Hall.
Later, after the battle was over and they were sitting quietly on the stairs, he told her. He certainly did not expect her reaction.
"Oh, Neville. How I wish I could say the same, but I can't. I can't do that to you; I never would."
"I don't know what you mean, Luna."
"My Mum died trying to create a new version of a time-turner, Neville. I was there. When that potion exploded, I was caught in the time-wave it caused. But I didn't go to one future, I went to many. In all of my futures, my first husband died an ignoble death. I know I will eventually give in to my drive to reproduce and get married, but I will most certainly not put you through that. I like you way too much to do that to you. Enjoy your life, Neville Longottom. But for now, we can only be friends."
Neville left, bereft. He knew his heart would belong to Luna Lovegood no matter what he did. But he knew her well enough to know he could never change her mind.
That year when Luna went out to the shed, she cried. She cried for the future she could not have with Neville, and for the future she could, knowing as she did that they were both in fate's hands.
He went on with his life, as she asked. He married Hannah Abbott and they were quite happy, until she died in childbirth.
Neville left St. Mungo's, his son in his arms, bewildered by the path his life had taken. He walked down Diagon Alley toward the Leaky Cauldron, trying to decide what to do with the pub that Hannah had made her own. He was so lost in his thoughts he didn't notice he had walked right into the path of-- "Luna!"
"Hullo, Neville Longbottom. How has your life gone?"
"It was fine until this morning, when Hannah died trying to bring Frank here into the world," he responded.
"I'm so very sorry to hear that. I'm guessing their magic came to odds?"
"Yes, exactly. How did you know that?"
"You came into your power late, but that rarely translates. Your son is displaying his power early, and I'll bet he's more fire than earth, like you are, and Hannah was air. All that did was fan his flames, you see?"
"No, Luna, I don't. But I'm guessing you will find a way to explain it to me."
Luna smiled, the first genuine smile since her husband had died because he turned his back on a hippogriff.
Just then one of the twin boys holding Luna's hand declared he was hungry.
The other boy tugged on the skirt of her robes. "Mum."
"The baby is hungry. He's going to cry soon. His Daddy needs to feed him."
"Alright, dearest." Luna turned to Neville. "Did you hear that?"
Neville did just what he always did when confronted with Luna's, well, Luna-ness. He nodded.
He shuttled the witch, her twins and the baby into the pub, and called Sparky, the Longbottom House-elf to help feed the baby.
Luna watched, her large blue eyes drinking in all of Neville's sure actions.
"What are you going to do with the Leaky, Neville?"
"I don't know. I have to go back to Hogwarts but I don't want to sell it. It will be up to Frank to decide once he's an adult."
"May I keep it? I will pay you an appropriate amount of rent. But it will give me and the boys a place to stay. The Scamanders aren't too welcoming, you see. They think I am the reason Rolf died."
Again, Neville just nodded.
"You need to grieve, Neville. Go, find a way to cry for your Hannah. Plant a tree in her honor, write a book, do what you need. I will be here. And if you need someone to look after Frank when you can't, I will do that too."
"Thank you, Luna." Neville handed Luna the keys to the Leaky and Flooed to his quarters in Hogwarts. Once he arrived, he gave Sparky instructions that if he was unavailable, the baby was to be cared for by Luna.
The sand was finally starting to lose its glow. Luna hoped they would be free soon.
The school year passed quickly, Neville planting a whole grove of trees on the grounds of Longbottom Manor symbolizing his deceased wife. Luna helped, adding the oddest assortment of herbs and potions to the dirt to help them grow. As they weren't harmful, Neville allowed it.
Once a month, Luna would pop by with the rent, which seemed to change given her mood, the phase of the moon or how many times she had to eject Cornelius Fudge when he became too drunk to allow in the place. They would talk, and she would rock the baby, and he would play with the twins.
At the end of the school year, Neville stopped by the Leaky on his way home.
"Neville!" Lorcan and Lysander ran up to hug him.
Luna followed the boys, baby Frank on her hip, and walked up to Neville. "My grieving is over. I don't know if yours is or not, but when you are ready, I think now is the time to finish our conversation from the staircase those ten years ago."
Neville stared at her, bemused this time. "You'll have to wait a bit, Luna. I'm not quite ready. But when I am, I know you will be the witch I seek."
"Good enough, Neville Longbottom. Our lines twined a long time ago, but I could not bear to see yours cut too soon."
Neville went home and spoke to his grandmother.
Luna showed up once a month, with the rent.
And when he was ready, Neville courted her.
The night before their wedding, Luna walked out to the remains of the shed her mother used as a workroom and saw that the last of the time-potion infused sands had lost their color.
Her tears fell, her sensitive heart aching for the lives changed and lost because of her mother's meddling with time.
"I guess I don't have to be anyone but Luna anymore," she whispered into the night.
"I guess that's good, since Luna is all I want, in any case," Neville responded as he wrapped his arms around her. "Better late than never, eh?"