Pluck Up What Is Planted
by Noelle - naushika@periapsis.net

Rating: PG
Genre: drama, romance
Pairings: Luna Lovegood/Neville Longbottom
Spoilers: Deathly Hallows
Summary: Neville was done with thinking.
Author's Summary: Written for Happyfest III (http://bringthehappy.livejournal.com) with the prompt: Harry Potter ; Neville/Luna ; greenhouse

***

They were huddled together under a cloak, crossing the grounds as quietly but as quickly as possible. The cloak had been made invisible with a disillusionment charm. It would only last a few hours, but was a particularly accomplished bit of magic from Michael Corner. Neville again felt relief at the presence of so many Ravenclaws in the reformed Dumbledore's Army. He knew he was braver than most - possibly to the point of recklessness - but he often got lost in the details. That's where the Ravenclaws came in, like the one currently accompanying him to the greenhouse in the dead of night.

It had been Luna's idea to make a cloak invisible - like Harry's. They couldn't make one as powerful as Harry's, or last indefinitely, but it would be good for quick missions around the castle. Neville glanced at Luna - who was looking up at the stars through the cloak, as if they weren't in serious danger right now - and felt a surge of affection for her. She was a bit absent-minded, sure, but he was at times too. And there was a reason she had been sorted into Ravenclaw. After spending so much time with her these past couple months, he'd seen her keen intelligence coming through. She often came up with ideas the rest of them would never have thought of. Not to mention, she was brilliant with potions.

Her ability with potions was the reason she was here with him now. They were about to reach their destination, and he needed her to help collect ingredients for a number of potions they were going to brew. The Draught of Living Death, wound-cleaning potions, and so on; potions for general usage in their ongoing fight against the Death Eaters at Hogwarts. As good as Neville was at growing and cultivating plants, he was still learning when it came to knowing how to use them well. Luna was a natural - she could tell just by looking at a flowerbud if it was mature enough to be used in a potion, and if not, could two be used in place of one for the same effect? He considered sparing her the danger and simply grabbing a number of different plant bits, but it was more effective for Neville to bring the potions expert here to hand-select the ingredients.

"Here we are," Luna's voice came softly to Neville's left ear. He'd be lost in his own thoughts and hadn't noticed their arrival at the greenhouse.

"Let's get this done quickly, shall we?" Neville whispered back. "Have you got the pouch?"

Luna held up a small, empty bag. They had cast a spell on it to deodorize the contents, so they wouldn't leave a stink trail behind them from the smellier plants, something Mrs Norris was bound to pick up on.

"Let's go then." Neville unlocked the door - he didn't even have to use a spell, since he had a key - and they filed inside. "We can take off the cloak in here, there's no moon tonight and nobody can see in."

Luna slid out from beneath the cloak and immediately went to work at the nearest plant, examining it and selecting bits of it to put in the smell-proof pouch.

Neville knew he should have been watching what she was doing more closely, and learning all that he could, but he was tired. He'd stayed up all the night before doing runs between the Room of Requirement and the Hog's Head, sending off owls with notes from students to their parents. And now here it was the next night, at 2 in the morning, and he still hadn't slept. He felt harried, and stretched thin. But he also felt proud of the other students, and knew that their all their fighting was worth it.

He leaned against a table and watched Luna work, her hair ruffled attractively from the cloak they'd been under. Having her by his side had been an unexpected boost. She was confident in their fight, confident in Harry's success with Voldemort, confident in Neville's own leadership abilities. Luna's asides about wrackspurts and other fantastical creatures would often put a smile on his face when nothing else could. In his own moments of weakness, she'd been the one he turned to confide in. He'd come to rely on her, and he wasn't entirely upset about it.

When she was finished, she skipped over to him, holding the now-fattened bag aloft. "All done!" Luna's sing-song voice floated over him.

"Excellent, Luna," Neville said, and she smiled at him. Luna's smile sent a tingle down his back, and he was sure of his feelings now.

Had things been normal, had this been any regular day at Hogwarts, he knew he wouldn't have had the guts to do anything about it. But things weren't normal. People were fighting for their lives, and they weren't always winning. Life often felt ephemeral, as if it were quickly slipping out of their grasp. When all this started Neville had resolved to never let go of anything ever again, and he wouldn't let go of this either.

Luna was staring at him serenely, seemingly content with waiting for him while he worked out the thoughts in his head. She'd done that for him a lot; she always knew when he needed to think. But now, Neville was done with thinking.

Reaching for her, he pulled Luna close. A part of him thought he was mad - what if this only pushed her away? But he had to try. He couldn't sit back and dwell on what-ifs. Neville caressed her cheek with his thumb. Her skin was warm, despite the cool night air. Neville looked into her bright eyes. She seemed surprised, but not confused. No, she was never confused, not his Luna.

When their lips met, Neville thought he might not care about anything anymore. Not about Voldemort's reign of terror, not about Snape's treachery, not even about the fact that every moment they stayed out there, it put them at a higher risk to be caught.

All he could focus on was Luna, and how soft she felt against him, how she smelled like mint and dirt, and how she was kissing him back just as eagerly and he was kissing her. When they finally pulled apart, breathing just a bit too hard, Luna took the cloak from his hands and threw it over the both of them, once again hiding them. Neville thought perhaps she was much too smart for him.

"When this is over," Neville whispered, drawing out his wand and preparing to leave, "Let's go to Sweden."

"Oh, I'd like that," Luna said. "We could hunt snorkacks while we're there. That's their natural habitat, you know."

Neville gripped her hand and smiled. "I know."

***

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