It Takes a Long Time to Grow an Old Friend
March 25th, 2005 at 11:53 AM
Luna quietly let herself into Neville's shop and took a deep breath of the air. It always smelled the same in the shop. Earthy and clean. It was calming, in it's own way. Not the same as the smell of books, but nice.
She hadn't had a chance to see Neville lately.
No. That was not right. She had not made
the time to come and see him. She was a horrible friend.
"Neville," she called, when she did not see him in the shop. He was often in the back, re-potting this or that. "It's your friendly neighborhood quack."
Neville perked up at Luna's voice. He was currently holding a rather large plant and couldn't exactly just put it down. "Um, I'm in the back. Just mind the boxes and come straight on through!"
He just managed to finish placing the plant into the larger pot when she arrived. "'Lo, Luna," he said with a grin as he gingerly pulled his hands out from underneath the pot. "I haven't seen you in a while."
"'Lo, Neville," Luna replied with a grin. "I brought you a present." She pulled a large book from her bag. He had ordered it months ago from Flourish and Blotts, but Mr. Pokeby had had trouble getting the publisher to ship a copy. "It finally came in this morning."
At first, he didn't recognize the title. "This looks familiar." It took a few moments for Neville to realize that it looked familiar because he had ordered it a while back. He curbed the urge to pound his head into the book. "Ah, excellent. I forgot I even wanted this."
Neville was going to give Luna a hug, but he was covered in dirt. "Thanks, Luna."
"You're welcome," she said with a smile. Her hands found the leaves of a violet plant, one with lovely light purple flowers and soft, fuzzy leaves.
"How've you been?"
"Pretty good. Busy, because I've got a big customer now." Neville looked over at her curiously. "You were a Ravenclaw. You remember Mac? She was in my year."
"Morag McDougal," Luna asked, to confirm the name. "Yes, I remember her. She used to yell at the others in the House when my things disappeared. I think she might have hexed Michael Corner for trying to take my shoes, but I never could get her to admit it. I've not seen her in years.
"She's your new big customer? What is she doing now?"
Neville scratched his head, scrubbing some dirt off of his fingers into his hair. "Well, sort of. She's part of the big customer, but right, she's more my girlfriend than a customer. She's at the Watcher's Council in Wiltshire."
"Girlfriend?" Her voice went a little high in excitement. "Neville, that's wonderful!" She was not going to be jealous. Envious was a better word for it. She missed having a significant other. Rolf Scamander had been her last beau, and had declared her too odd
for a normal relationship.
Who wanted a normal relationship anyway?
"Watcher's Council? The chaps that control the slayers and tap the power of hellmouths? What does she do there?"
It occurred to Neville that Mac may have not wanted to let anyone know that they were dating, let alone she was a slayer. "Well, we haven't really been on a date, but we've planned to have one in the future."
"Ooooh," she said, drawing the word out with an exaggerated nod. "Blibbering humdingers," she teased, remembering the creature she had invented at one point to give Harry Potter a respite. "They make you unable to... Well," her smile widened as Neville caught her meaning and blushed bright red.
"No, really. Why have you not had an actual date?"
"I guess because I haven't had the time to owl her. I've been so busy with the shop, despite the fact that I have help." Neville started toward one of his store rooms to put up the book Luna brought.
Luna grabbed the back of his shirt to keep him from walking away.
"You haven't had time to owl
her? Neville! It takes only a few minutes to write a note and attach it to an owl. And only a few more if you need to hire an owl." She did not understand why he was putting it off. Surely too many of their friends had died in the war for him to think that he had all the time in the world.
"I'm no good with writing. I don't know what write, and my penmanship is terrible. I've always been able to just talk to her." He glared at her. "Plus, yes, busy."
"If you're better with verbal communication, then floo her." She resisted the urge to call him
a blibbering humdinger. "Neville... You have to make time to have a life."
Neville grinned down at her. "Yes, which is why you've been by to visit so much. How is you your
exciting life going?"
She released his shirt and wrapped her arms around herself. It was different for her, more difficult. Her oddities, the need to organize things when she was upset, made dating hard. It wasn't like she could blithely announce that she wanted to alphabetize a bloke's pantry on the first date. Or explain why her wand remained lit all night long. It was not the type of thing you could explain. Even Neville, a good friend, had no idea.
"Who says that I wasn't out having a wild, passionate affair with a wizard from the South Pacific?"
All he could do was blink. "Um, no one? Have you?"
"No... But it is a nice idea, isn't it?" Luna turned away and started straightening the rows of pots, making sure that they lined up nicely.
"You should owl her. Or floo her. Mac's a nice woman and you deserve the chance to be happy."
"I've done just fine on my own so far, but I'll floo her, or go by. That sounds like a good idea." Honestly, he'd used the owl excuse for a while and hadn't even considered floo. Mac would probably appreciate it. "Any more bright ideas for what a Ravenclaw would like to do on a date?"
She considered the question for a moment before answering. "With most of us, anything that's a learning experience would be good. Maybe a museum? But I remember that Mac likes to hit things. Do you think there's a museum of hitting somewhere?"
He couldn't suppress a snort. If only Luna knew how much Mac likes to hit things. "I have no idea, but I'll keep it under consideration."
Neville started towards his storage room again, confident Luna wasn't going to yank him back again. "We should go up to Hogsmeade sometime and visit the Three Broomsticks and catch up. Maybe Mac can come. I'm sure she'd love to see someone from her old house."
She nodded, even though he couldn't see her. "That would be nice. Her family owns the Sticks now, don't they? I wonder if they banished the nargles that nested in the back corner."
He chuckled quietly as he finally put the book away with his others. "Brody does. I think some of her cousins are there as well. I haven't been in a while, so it'll be nice to go. I could owl to see when a good time to come by is." When Luna gave him a look, he rolled his eyes. "It's Brody. I'm not worried about sounding like an idiot for him."
She chuckled. "Because impressing the girl's family is not as important as impressing the girl? Are you sure of that? I seem to remember that Brody was big enough to break a man in half."
"As he so demonstrated by laying my arse on the floor many, many times. The sheer number of headbutts I've gotten from him and his family is staggering. They already know I can't impress them."
"You must have some good self confidence, then, if they constantly lay you out on the floor. Which is good, because Mac never struck me as the type to suffer a weak boyfriend. You are
going to owl her, right? Or floo?"
"I told you, we're not... official yet. And I'll get in touch with her, mum," Neville teased.
"You better," she returned, shaking her finger at him as she tried -- and failed -- to suppress a smile. "Anyway, I need to go pick up some lunch while I still have time to eat it. I'll see you later, if I have some time when I'm not having wild sex with my South Pacific wizard friend."
He laughed loudly as they walked into the front area. "Well only if you can manage to tear yourself away. I'd hate for him to get jealous."
"We have a very open relationship," she joked. "He doesn't get jealous. If anything, he suggests that we invite my friends to join us." She laughed as his face bloomed again.
"I'll see you later," she told him, stretching up on her toes to kiss his cheek. "And I expect good news."
"There will be news. Don't work too hard." He grabbed one of the peonies he had for sale at the front and handed it to her. "Thanks for the book and the visit. I was serious about catching up."
"Owl me and we'll set it up," she agreed, giving him one last wave before slipping out the door. She thought about teasing him about his inability to owl again, but figured that she'd pushed him enough on that front.