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Love Is A Gift

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It was certainly odd coming back to Hogwarts after all this time, Neville thought as he directed his trunk into his new rooms in Gryffindor Tower. It had been several years since he'd last been on the premises and more than a dozen years since he'd first started school.

It was hard to believe that he was no longer the same small, podgy, and terrified eleven-year-old stepping into the castle for the first time, or that in two weeks' time, he'd be an actual professor, teaching Herbology to a horde of small and terrified eleven year olds. That was impossible to fathom as well.

His trunk crashed on the floor with a loud bang as Neville's concentration slipped, the sound reverberating out into the empty corridor. The school was eerily quiet before the start of term, the only inhabitants being the staff, the house-elves, and the resident ghosts. Neville kept expecting to see Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, or any of his other friends rounding the corner, but he'd left them all behind in London the night before.

Hermione had organized a going away party for himself and Luna, who was off on an expedition to hunt for Blibbering Humdingers in a variety of exotic locales. Thinking of Luna caused Neville a momentary a pang of melancholy although he wasn't quite sure why. She seemed ecstatic to be going off to the four corners of the world to seek out new and exciting species, and Neville could only be happy for his friend's good fortune. Still, out of all his old school chums, he seemed to be missing her more than anyone else.

The party had been fun and Neville appreciated his friends' generosity. It had been strange to see them all pairing off in couples, although at least he hadn't felt like he was playing the gooseberry. His Gran was always on at him about finding a nice girl and settling down, but Neville wasn't ready for a long-term commitment. He hadn't even found someone he liked that much and he supposed his new life at Hogwarts wasn't going to make it any easier. If his choices were between Headmistress McGonagall, Professor Sprout, or Professor Hooch, it was looking more and more likely that he was going to remain a confirmed bachelor.

Not that there was anything wrong with an older woman, but Neville didn't fancy them in the least. In fact, he found them quite intimidating. Then again, he found women intimidating in general, as well as being downright confusing. Sticking to Herbology and his plants seemed to be a much better plan overall.

Of course, Luna was probably the most confusing girl he knew. He had stopped being afraid of her sometime during his sixth year, but most days, she still confounded him with her daft behaviour. For example, last night, she'd wanted to tell him something "important" before he'd left and yet had never managed to find the time. Neville reckoned it probably had been something as simple as "Watch out for wrackspurts," or "If you find any Crumple-Horned Snorkacks hiding in the Forbidden Forest, contact me immediately." When he'd started working for the Ministry right after school, she'd continually warned him to beware the Rotfang Conspiracy until Harry had asked her to stop.

As if on cue, there was a light rapping on the frosted glass of his chamber window. A small brown owl sat on the ledge, blinking at Neville impatiently and waiting to be let in. He opened the window, allowing the owl to hop into the room. A small scroll of parchment was tied to its leg.

Neville untied the scroll, then gave the little owl a shrug as it gave him an expectant look. "I'm sorry, I haven't got any treats for you."

The owl clacked its beak with annoyance. There was a thump as Trevor hopped in his terrarium and hit the glass. The owl's gaze fixed on the toad, making Neville's heart race.

"No, you can't eat him. Go to the Owlry. I'm sure there's plenty of food for you there."

It gave one final clack, then headed back out the window.

Neville glanced down at the scroll in his hand. The parchment was bright green, and it was tied up with brown cord, two dried vanilla pods dangling from the ends.

Dear Neville,

Greetings from Madagascar. I've been here for a few hours and then remembered you were off to Hogwarts today so thought I would write you a letter. I hope you had a nice trip up to the school and it isn't too cold there yet. I also hope your trip on the train wasn't very lonely. It's always so much nicer to travel with someone than going on your own, particularly on the way to school. I always enjoyed our rides together.

I'm sending you some native vanilla bean pods from here. I am told they keep Nargles away. Put them under your pillow at night for Nargle-free sleep and nice dreams. Perhaps you can used the seeds of one to grow some vanilla in the greenhouse. Then, when you smell it, you can think of me.

I haven't found any interesting wildlife yet, but tomorrow, I'm going on a trek through the tropical rainforest to see if I can catch a glimpse of some clabberts, flocks of fwoopers and even a diricawl or two. There are rumours of votsovotsa (sort of a giant rat) and of course, the Malagasy Slime Devil. I hope I manage to see those — I will send you photographs if it happens.

I hope you're well. Please send my love to all of the teachers, particularly Professor Flitwick.

xxx,
Luna

That was very kind of Luna, Neville thought as he carefully removed the vanilla pods from the string. Vanilla was very hard to come by as it was difficult to grow under artificial circumstances. He would have to check the greenhouse and see if there were any vanilla orchids growing currently. Along with use in the kitchens, vanilla was a prime ingredient in both fever reducing draughts, something that might prove useful for Madam Pomfrey, and at least one variation of love potion as it had aphrodisiac properties. Not that Poppy Pomfrey would have any need for that as far as Neville knew (and if she did, he certainly didn't want to know about it.).

Making a mental note to thank Luna at the earliest opportunity, Neville returned to unpacking his things and getting settled in his new home.

***

Neville was very tired. He'd never realised just how exhausting the Sorting Feast was when you weren't being Sorted or waiting to see which students were destined to join which House. Ostensibly, he was still a part of Gryffindor, but it wasn't the same as it had been in his own day as a student.

The newest Gryffindors, along with the other children Sorted into the other three Houses, all seemed so tiny and so young. Neville had felt like Hagrid, a veritable giant, when standing amongst them, helping to herd them up to the Tower for their first night. Surely he had never been that small, had he?

After the festivities, the staff had retired to the staff room for coffees, whisky, and gossip. It was a whole new experience to hear what the Professors thought of their new prospects. Much time was spent discussing how they might measure up to both their siblings and previous generations of their families if they had any other family attend the school and speculating as to what they might be like if they were new to the school (particularly any Muggleborn children). It had been illuminating to say the least.

He was still getting used to calling his colleagues by their first names: Minerva, Pomona, Filius, Horace and the like. Hagrid was, of course, still Hagrid. No one ever called him 'Rubeus.' Being treated as an equal rather than an awkward student was also taking a bit of getting used to. Neville could now do anything he liked, go anywhere he liked without worrying about detentions or anyone writing a letter home to his Gran to report his transgressions.

As he entered his room, he heard the surprised squeal of a house-elf, the creature's large amber eyes reflecting in the light from the corridor.

"So sorry, Master Longbottoms!" it squeaked. "Jinsy was only bringing you a parcel!"

Neville had always been nervous around house-elves. His Gran had abhorred them, saying real witches (and wizards) did their own housework, rather than relying on outside help. The ones who worked at the school were quite friendly, but he still found them unnerving. "Not to worry," he said, hoping he sounded reassuring.

"Your parcel was misdirected," the elf continued. "Jinsy was just returning it to its proper owner!"

"That's fine. Really. Although you didn't have to bring it here. I could've picked it up in the morning." Neville felt sorry for the elves having to work all hours.

"Jinsy would have been remiss if she hadn't brought it to you," the elf replied huffily. She pointed to his turned down bed with long pointed fingers. "It's there for you, Master Longbottoms."

"You can call me 'Neville'."

The elf eyed him suspiciously but gave him a quick nod.

"Thank you anyway."

With another nod, the elf scurried out of the room. Neville went to the bed and picked up the box. It was small and flat and tied with scarlet and gold ribbons. Gryffindor colours. There was a small note attached to the top, the paper decorated with bluebells.

Dear Neville,

Happy Sorting Day!

Well, I suppose it's probably night where you are now. It's daytime here still in Baffin Bay, Nunavut. That's in Canada in North America. Very far North America, near the Arctic. It's very cold here, but I'm on the track of some Burbling Runtlestuntles—

Neville had some vague recollection of Luna once explaining that Runtlestuntles were a form of gremlin that snuck into houses on the nights of dark moons to eat their victims, leaving nothing but their hair and teeth behind. He wasn't certain he really wanted her to find them.

So far, I've had no luck, but perhaps that's because the moon is waxing, not waning.

I've sent you a little gift which I hope you'll wear to the Feast. I think it suits you.

Hope to hear from you soon.

xx,
Luna

Carefully, Neville untied the parcel and lifted the lid. Inside sat a scarlet t-shirt with the words "Gryffindors Do It Boldly" in glowing, sparkly golden letters. He started to blush, relieved that no one else was there to see it. It wasn't something he would normally wear — or ever — but he appreciated Luna's gift nonetheless. It was very sweet of her to send him another gift; it was more than any of their other friends had done. Not that he'd expected anyone to send him any congratulatory gifts, but Neville was touched that Luna had gone to the effort.

He folded the shirt up neatly and placed it in a drawer. Upon closing the drawer, Neville discovered the shirt still glowed, a soft golden light coming through the cracks in his dresser. He was definitely going to have to deal with that if he ever wanted to sleep again.

***

"Class dismissed," said Neville as the bell rang, signalling the end of the Herbology session. He'd been dealing with third year Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors, and he was exhausted. The Hufflepuffs were quite easy to deal with, but the Gryffindors were quite a different story, especially Ellis Robins and Corwyn Ludlow. Neville wasn't quite sure if those two were going to inherit the Weasley Twins title for Most Disruptive Students — especially when they didn't seem to be as innovative as Fred and George, although they were only thirteen — but they were certainly contenders. He was trying hard to ignore their antics rather than encourage them, but he'd have to talk to the Headmistress about those two nonetheless. Before things got out of hand.

Neville had also been observing the other students, noting the quiet ones and the shy ones, determined to pay more attention to them, to encourage them and try to coax them out of their respective shells. He would never forget what Professor Lupin had done for him during his third year and would continue Lupin's legacy as long as he was a teacher. It was the least he could do to keep Remus Lupin's memory alive.

In the past month, Neville had settled into his role of teacher more easily than he'd expected. Along with his classes, he'd started attending Quidditch matches, and at the last one had even got up the nerve to wear the t-shirt Luna had sent him. It had elicited a lot of giggles from the students but not in an unkind way. It felt odd to be considered the 'cool' professor. Some of the older students were aware that he was a war hero, a decorated veteran of the Battle of Hogwarts, and generally looked up to. He wasn't sure he'd ever get used to it.

He had written to Luna to thank her for the t-shirt but had not received any reply. However, two weeks ago a box of pomegranates had arrived for him on the eve of the Autumn Equinox, along with a letter from Luna telling him all about her exploits in Kashmir. She was on the hunt for a herd of Uchchaihshravas (a name that Neville could barely spell, let alone pronounce), legendary seven headed flying horses, somewhere in the Himalayas. She'd had no luck in sighting them yet but hoped that the pomegranates would make him think of her. Neville wasn't quite certain why; it wasn't as if her name was Persephone.

Luna had also mentioned in her note that these particular pomegranates were grown in the grove of Rati, but Neville hadn't a clue as to why that was important either. Still, it was nice to have some autumn fruit, and it couldn't hurt to cultivate a pomegranate tree or two in one of the green houses, particularly with fruit that tasted so sweet.

Gathering his things, Neville made his way back to the castle and into the teacher's lounge, settling into a worn, comfy chair. With a flick of his wand, he poured himself a cup of tea, then Summoned it towards him, grasping the saucer before he sloshed the hot liquid down his robes. For Neville, there was nothing like a good cup of steaming tea and a few chocolate digestives after classes savoured in the quiet sanctuary of the staff room.

"Longbottom!"

The sound of his last name being shouted did cause Neville to jump. The tea cup and saucer went clattering to the ground but not before spraying scalding hot tea everywhere, including down the front of Neville's robes. As he yelped in pain and surprise,
Headmistress McGonagall strode into the room, an opened parcel in her hands.

"Neville, I believe these belong to you." Minerva pursed her lips in distaste as she shoved the box, its brown paper wrapper, and its contents at him. "Here, take it!"

Hands shaking, Neville looked down at the package, his cheeks heating up as he noted what lay inside. A pair of bright scarlet cotton boxer shorts lay nestled in a nest of colourful tissue paper, a realistic but harmless magical fire blazing on the crotch. The words "I'm hot for Teacher", emblazoned in shimmering gold, flickered on and off the fabric above the flames. "Erm, I—"

"One of those ridiculous house-elves left this in my chambers by accident," Minerva explained. "I was distracted and didn't notice to whom it was addressed. I assumed the house-elves could read properly, which doesn't seem to be the case, so my deepest apologies, Neville."

"Erm—" Neville looked at the torn and wrinkled paper wrapper, searching for a sender. There, in the upper left corner, was a faint and smudged name: L. Lovegood.

"Oh, there was a card too." Minerva shoved a sealed envelope at him.
Embarrassed, Neville grabbed it. He didn't want to read Luna's card here in public, with McGonagall looming over him, but he had very little choice.

Dearest Neville,

Happy World Teacher's Day! I hope this reaches you by 5 October!

I'm currently in Uruguay, somewhere in the Rio de la Plata basin looking for Umgubular Slashkilters, so I hope the bird I send this with will be able to find you without much trouble. There were rumours there was at least one Slashkilter in the vicinity, but I've had no luck as yet to locate it. They do go invisible when they're stroppy so it's difficult most of the time. It's also quite possible that the non-stop rains might have something to do with it. It is the rainy season here, but you would think the Slashkilters would be used to it by now and hardly bothered by it.

It's very temperate here, not like Scotland at all. I can only imagine how much colder it is at Hogwarts, and hope you are keeping warm and dry in the greenhouse.

I saw these pants in a little shop in Montevideo and thought of you immediately. I hope they are the right size as I wouldn't want them to fall off or to be too tight.

I am hoping to be in Mongolia by Hallowe'en. Will be in touch then if all goes well.

Much love,
Luna

Neville suspected his face was glowing as much as the festive underpants were. "Th-thank you, Headmistress," he muttered, immediately cramming the gift and the card back into the box. "I'm sorry you had to deal with this. It's—it's Luna's idea of a joke. You know what she's like."

Minerva raised an eyebrow; Neville thought he saw her upper lip twitch as if she were suppressing a smile. He blinked and it was gone replaced by her usual stern expression. "Run along, Neville. You might want to get that," she indicated the large wet tea stain on his robes, "cleaned up as well. Wouldn't do to show up to class looking a fright, would it?"

He gathered up his things and tore out of the lounge as quickly as his feet would take him.

***

Hallowe'en brought another package from Luna, now somewhere in the Gobi Desert looking for Niggling Spriggetts. As always, her timing was impeccable. In the middle of the Hallowe'en Feast, an exhausted lesser kestrel dive bombed straight at Neville as he sat at the High Table, talking to Aurora Sinistra. The bird crashed into the table, the box it carried knocking over Neville's goblet and spilling wine everywhere. Mortified, Neville didn't dare open the parcel until after the Feast (and many apologies). This time Luna had sent him a pair of purple boxers covered in black flocked bats which flapped on the fabric. Across the seat of the pants it read "I'm Batty For You!" in rhinestones which changed from amethyst to topaz to diamond in an endless cycle.

He was eternally grateful no one had been around to witness that. He was also terribly confused as to why she kept sending him underpants.

Five days later, on Bonfire Night, another parcel arrived, also from Mongolia. This time Luna had sent a small stuffed toy salamander which squeaked, "Come on, baby, light my fire," when Neville took it out of the box. The salamander, which Neville named "Guy," was given a place of honour on his bookshelf.

Then the gifts stopped coming.

Neville wrote another letter to Luna thanking her for the presents, and asking her how her expeditions were going, and how she was. It frustrated Neville that she never seemed to respond to his letters directly, and he wondered if she was even receiving them. As much as he appreciated the gifts — as odd as they were — Neville would have given them all up just to spend some time with her. It was suddenly dawning on him that he missed Luna and everything about her; her long pale hair, her bright silvery eyes, her sweet smile, and the dreamy lilt in her voice when she went on about all the unusual creatures she believed in.

He wanted to tell her that and more, but he was too embarrassed. Luna seemed far more interested in her fantastic (and probably non-existent) beasts than anything else in the world, and Neville couldn't imagine she'd have any time for him as anything other than a friend even if she was looking for romance. He never thought she would be interested in him (despite her newest fascination with dressing his nether regions) — he imagined there were probably loads of dashing young magizoologists off on adventures with her to catch her eye instead.

Neville tried to throw himself into his work, spending most of his free time in the greenhouses cultivating his plants when he wasn't teaching classes. He did his best not to check the Owlry hourly in hopes of receiving a letter from Luna or bother the house-elves for any packages for him that might have gone astray. It was difficult. The War and being the de facto leader of Dumbledore's Army had taught Neville not to mope or lose heart, but it was disconcerting nonetheless.

He was in Greenhouse Five tending to the Shrivelfigs, up to his elbows in dirt, when a shrill voice broke him out of his reverie.

"Master Longbottom! Master Longbottom!" A house-elf he didn't recognize came sprinting into the greenhouse, brandishing a box over its head. "A package is here for you, Master Longbottom!"

Neville wrenched his arm out of the plant pot, shaking the loose dirt off immediately. "For me? You're certain?"

"Yes, yes. Pandy knows how to read!" the house-elf scoffed. "It says 'Neville Longbottom' on the label!"

"May I have it?" Neville asked politely.

"Yes, yes." Pandy handed the parcel over with a flourish.

Neville half-expected it to be from his grandmother who was still going strong back in England, or perhaps some useful books on Herbology from Hermione found on one of her frequent trips to used book shops. His heart skipped a beat when he saw Luna's loopy handwriting on the brown paper wrapping. "Thank you very much, Pandy."

"You're very welcome!" Pandy squeaked, then gave him a polite bow. With that the house-elf was off on another errand.

Neville drew in a deep breath, noting his hands were trembling slightly. It had been five long weeks since he'd last heard from her. There was no reason to be nervous, and yet, he felt a little frisson of anxiety run up his spine. He unwrapped the package carefully, pulling off the paper, then lifting up the lid. Inside there were nine smaller boxes, all neatly wrapped in colourful paper. There was also a card.

Dearest Neville,

Thank you for all the letters! I am so sorry I wasn't able to answer you sooner, but I've been in Fiji. Our expedition was on one of the uninhabited islands, and it was so remote that even owls couldn't find us! It wasn't until we got back onto Vanua Levu and back to Suva (the main city) that I knew you'd written. I was hunting for Vermicious Knids, but they never did manifest. Still it wasn't quite a waste of time — the local flora and fauna were beautiful. I think you would have liked the plants!

Anyway, happy Hanukkah! I know you're not Jewish but I wanted to send you eight presents anyway! There's also something there for Yule in case I'm unable to write before then. I hope you like them all!

I'm not sure where I will be going next. I'm looking at a possible trip to Borneo since there are rumours of Knids there too.

Hope you are well. I love receiving your letters and hope you will keep writing!

Xxxx.
Luna

So she had got his letters and had been pleased to receive them. Neville let out a sigh of relief at that. Inside the separately wrapped boxes were: donuts filled with pumpkin jelly which Luna said were called sufganiyah, a second type of sufganiyah with a custard filling, a four-sided chocolate top which Luna said was called a dreidel, a self-lighting menorah (Neville at least had heard of those), a dozen greasy potato pancakes, actual gold coins which Luna said were edible (he wasn't sure he wanted to test those), a bottle of massage oil which smelled nice (Neville could detect notes of sandalwood and vanilla), and cuttings of hibiscus plants which were from the Hibiscus Festival in Fiji.

The donuts looked a bit stale, as did the potato pancakes, but Neville hoped that perhaps the House-elves would know how to salvage them. In the ninth box was yet another pair of underpants, this time tiny satin briefs with an appliqued fireplace on the crotch, and the words "Wanna light my Yule Log?" embroidered above it. Blushing, Neville put them back in the box. He had no idea why Luna was obsessed with his underwear or fires, but it was getting ridiculous. He certainly would not be wearing them on Winter Solstice.

Thankful he was alone in the greenhouse; Neville packed up his things and trudged back to the castle and his chambers.

***

Neville was in his room, putting away his teaching plans and class information, when there was a knock at the door. The Autumn term was over, most of the students had gone back home for the holidays, as it was almost Christmas. He had already sent an owl along with presents to his gran, promising he'd be home to visit for New Year's. Unfortunately, he couldn't be with her for Christmas himself as he needed to be at the school Christmas feast to keep an eye on the students who had remained behind. Gran had understood, urging him to stay and have a good time and 'not let Minerva McGonagall drink too heavily'.

"Come in, come in," Neville said absentmindedly, carefully sorting through his bottles of ink.
He didn't look up as the door swung open with a creak. Probably one of the staying behinders wanting to argue about a grade...

"Nev?" Luna's soft voice made Neville straighten with a start, several bottles of ink slipping from his hands and landing on the floor with a crash.

"Luna?" Neville's eyes widened as he took in her slim form. She looked beautiful, her pale hair pulled up on her head in a cascade of messy curls, her cheeks reddened from the cold. "Luna, what are you doing here? I thought you were in Borneo!"

Luna's lips curved up into a dreamy smile, and Neville felt his heart pounding in his chest. "I was there, but I wanted to come to Hogwarts to see you — and deliver your presents in person. I thought that would be nicer than posting them to you."

"Yes, yes, of course!" He rushed to her side, ink bottles forgotten. "Let me take your cloak, take a seat, would you like a drink? I have cider and butterbeer and some firewhisky, or I can ask a house-elf to—"

She shook her head. "Perhaps later, Nev. What I really want is you." Luna laughed as she shrugged out of her cloak, and Neville's eyes nearly fell out of his head. Beneath the cloak she was wearing a sheer light blue gown, more of a negligee than an actual frock. He could see the hint of her full, round breasts beneath the gauzy material as she moved.

"Erm—" He suddenly lost the ability to speak or move, except for his cock which seemed to have taken on a life of its own. Neville could feel the dull ache of want as it pressed against his trousers.

"Don't you want me, Nev?" Luna asked, cocking her head in confusion. "I thought..."

"Of course I do!" he blurted, his tongue thick in his mouth. "I just didn't expect...I didn't think you...wanted me is all."

"Didn't my gifts give it away?" She moved in closer; Neville could feel the heat coming off her skin and smell the light floral scent she wore. "I thought you knew."

"N-no," he admitted. "I just thought you were being friendly."

Luna laughed again and threw her arms around his neck. "You're very silly, Neville. But that's one of the many reasons that I love you."

She loved him? The import of her words hit him like a Bludger. She loved him. His only response was to kiss her, long and hard, his arms going around her slender waist to pull her close. Her lips were soft and warm as they kissed, her tongue darting into his mouth to flicker against his own. Neville let out an involuntary moan, clutching at her.

She broke off the kiss, panting, her eyes glazed. "Neville, please lock the door," she breathed.

Neville complied, snatching up his wand to shut the door with a quick flick of his wrist. No sooner had the lock clicked than Luna pounced on him, all but tackling him as she pushed him back towards his bed. Tumbling onto the mattress flat on his back, Neville pulled Luna on top of him and caught her up in another torrid kiss.

He tugged at the straps of her gown, sliding them down her arms until the top fell away completely, exposing her breasts. They were as beautiful as he'd imagined. Luna sighed happily as Neville's lips closed around one nipple, drawing it deep into his mouth and sucking hard. Luna wriggled against him with a high-pitched giggle.

She pulled at his clothes, buttons flying as she yanked his shirt open with surprisingly strong hands. Neville moved his attention to Luna's other breast, moaning against her skin as she unbuckled his belt, then unbuttoned his trousers. A little noise of disappointment escaped her lips as she peeled his trousers down over his hips, revealing his plain cotton boxers.

Mortified, Neville stopped what he was doing and stared up at her. He could feel his cheeks burning with embarrassment and his painful hard-on subsiding just a little. "Have I done something amiss?"

"You're not wearing any of the underpants I sent you," she replied with a sigh.

"I would have if I'd known you were going to be here!" Neville blurted. He hated to dissemble, but it wasn't precisely a lie either. He rocked his hips up towards her. "I-I'll put them on after we...well, for dinner, alright? I'll even let you decide which ones I ought to wear."

That seemed to mollify Luna, the bright smile returning to her face. "I'd like that. I did imagine you in them when I bought them for you."

Neville's blush deepened, although he was grinning like an idiot. "Yeah?"

"Oh, yes." Luna shifted, rubbing herself along the length of his reviving erection. "You were quite handsome in them."

Neville groaned, and reached for her again.

This time there were no further interruptions. Luna made short work of Neville's trousers while he managed to take off Luna's knickers. She pulled her dress over her head, tossing it carelessly on the floor, then crawled back up the length of his body. With a dreamy smile, she gave his cock a few slow strokes before raising herself up on her knees, positioning herself over it, and sinking down again.

That elicited a guttural groan from Neville as he felt himself engulfed in her tight, wet heat. He pushed deep inside her, grabbing her firmly by the hips. They began to move together, Luna squealing and moaning every time Neville thrust upwards. She wriggled and undulated on top of him, her breasts bouncing with every move. Neville was entranced, and it didn't take long before he felt his control starting to slip away. Luna's cries were growing louder, her movements growing wilder as she rode him. Her hair had loosened from its knot, pale strands whipping around her face as she flung her head back.

"Oh, Neville," she keened. "Oh, oh, Neville—"

He felt her clench around him, then pulse, and he was undone, the climax tearing through him like an explosion of fireworks. Neville clutched at her, shuddering violently as he came. Luna began to slow her frenzied movements, her breath coming out in long, ragged gasps.

Finally she slumped forward, collapsing against his bare chest. Neville put his arms around her, holding her close, and kissing her damp face.

"I love you," he whispered in her ear.

"I love you too," she murmured. "It's why I came back to Hogwarts. I wanted to tell you. And to show you in person."

"I'm glad you did." Neville kissed her again. "Really, really glad."

"Well, it seemed more practical than telling you in a letter." Luna propped herself up on her elbows, studying him with rapt fascination. "I know you've got to stay here to teach, and I would like to do more expeditions—"

Neville's stomach did a quick somersault at the thought of her going away again. "You're not leaving, are you?"

"Not right away, of course." Luna chewed on her lower lip for a moment, considering her words carefully. "I would like to do more expeditions, of course, but I was hoping that perhaps we could work out some sort of schedule so we could be together too. Assuming you actually want that, Neville."

"More than anything." Neville pulled her down for another prolonged kiss. Luna kissed him quickly before springing up from the bed. She rushed over to her rucksack, searching through it for something.

"Ah ha!" she declared, then scurried back. In her hand she held what looked like a sparkling bangle, only smaller. "I have another present for you," she giggled. "I was going to send it to you for International Niffler Appreciation Day, but I suppose it would work as a promise ring as well."

"A promise ring?" Neville echoed, eyeing the ring with some trepidation. He suspected he knew just what sort of ring it was, and wasn't quite certain he wanted to go there. At least not yet.

"Well, yes. Unless you'd like it to be an engagement ring," said Luna. "We could have a New Year's wedding if you'd like."

"I think we've got plenty of time to discuss all of that," Neville said with a smile. He sat up and took her hand in his, then pressed it to his lips. "At least I hope we do."

Luna nodded as she gave his hand a squeeze. "We do."

Neville kissed her lightly. "Luna, I feel awful that I haven't got anything for you. I didn't expect you to be here, and I've been so busy teaching that I haven't had time to get down to the shops to buy any presents."

"That's alright, Neville." Luna beamed at him, making him love her even more. "You've already given me the very best gift of all…yourself."