Neville Longbottom started his day off by waking up late, tripping over his tangled bedclothes, and banging his head on his nightstand. This may have been a clue to get back in bed, but decision making had never been one his best skills.
“Good grief, Neville!” Hermione Granger exclaimed as he sat at the Gryffindor table for breakfast. “What happened to you?”
“Life,” Neville said sheepishly as he reached for a plate of bacon. Ron Weasley snickered and gave him a pat on the back.
“You might want to go to the infirmary after breakfast,” Ron said. “You look pretty bad.”
In fact, Neville had caught the corner of his nightstand and his eye was nearly swollen shut. It stung and was still weeping slightly.
“I know, but if I missed breakfast I wouldn’t be able to eat until lunch,” Neville said. Unfortunately his sight was limited and as he reached for the pitcher of pumpkin juice he knocked it over, forcing other students to scrabble for their things and get out of the way.
“Ten points from Gryffindor for Longbottom’s incompetence at the breakfast table,” Professor Snape said as he swept by the table on his way to the teachers table.
Neville shrank in his seat, the glares from Gryffindors making his cheeks feel hot.
“Don’t worry,” Hermione said as she waved her wand and cleaned the mess. “We have Herbology today. You’re bound to make it up.”
Neville nodded silently and waited as Hermione served his food to him.
“Thanks,” he said quietly as she set the plate of food in front of him.
Madame Pomfrey gave him a cream that stung a bit and a swig of a very bitter potion. She tut-tutted as he walked away. He was beginning to think maybe he should have a permanent space in the hospital wing.
Herbology went fine, although he failed to earn any points from Gryffindor. Madame Sprout seemed to be pushing him a bit harder than the others. She had been hinting at a recommendation for the herbal profession, but he needed to be at top performance and he wasn’t quite there yet.
Neville and the other Gryffindors plodded down to the potions lab, their hard shoes echoing off the bare stone walls that led down to the dungeons.
Snape led them through a complicated potion and sneered at Neville when he told them to get their cauldrons out.
Neville chopped his beetles finely and added them to the loganberry juice boiling in his cauldron.
“Longbottom!” Snape exploded. Neville nearly jumped into his cauldron stand. He looked up and shrunk under Snape’s gaze.
“Y-yes?” he said meekly.
“Did you remove the eyes from the beetles before you decided to add them to your potion?” Snape barked.
“N-no, sir,” Neville said trembling.
“Then that would explain why your potion is blue and the others are yellow, would it not?” Snape asked, his voice slithering through the air to Neville’s ears.
“I- um- yea,” Neville stammered out.
“20 points from Gryffindor for Longbottoms ability to botch a potion within the first few ingredients,” Hermione’s jaw dropped in horror. “And 20 more for Grangers inability to stop him.”
“What!?” Ron exploded.
“10 more points for Weasley’s inability to control himself,” Snape thundered.
The rest of the class was speechless and the rest of the class passed in silence.
Lunch managed to pass by without incident, but on the way to charms the strap on Neville’s bag broke, spilling out all his parchments, his ink bottle toppling out over his research project and smashing over the papers.
“Bugger!” Neville yelled in the corridor, to no one in particular.
“10 points from Gryffindor,” Snape said as he breezed by the mess.
“For crying out loud,” Neville muttered under his breath as he tried to salvage his project. “Unfortunately his cleaning spell wiped the pages completely clean of not only the ink that had been spilled, but the project he had spent the last month on. He felt like crying.
“Can I help?” a dreamy voice asked him.
Luna Lovegood was standing over him, large rosebuds dangling from her ears.
“Not unless you’ve got a killing curse handy,” Neville sighed.
“For Snape or for you?” Luna asked, a small smile hinting around her mouth.
“Both would be nice,” Neville said, grinning wryly.
“Well, then you’d have to still deal with him, wouldn’t you?” Luna said, helping him clean up his mess. “In a different place, I mean.”
“I don’t know,” Neville said, happy to see one person that wasn’t glaring at him.
“I’d skip charms all together if I were you,” Luna said, looking at his eye. “Flitwick will let you turn it in late if you get it to him by the end of the day. Do you still have your notes?”
Neville nodded sadly.
“Do you have a Quik Quotes Quill?” Luna asked.
“No,” Neville said, looking at her.
“Well, I do,” she said reaching into her bag. “Only if you think you can manage not to destroy it.”
“I’m not sure,” Neville said nervously.
“Well, my father will send me another if you can’t manage to handle it,” Luna said chuckling slightly.
“Thanks,” Neville said, relieved.
To his surprise Luna kissed him on the cheek.
“Get it back to me later,” she waved and ran down the corridor to whatever class she had next.
Neville touched his cheek gently. It tingled slightly, more than his eye at this point.
Interesting. The day had turned from bad to interesting.
Neville gathered his things and walked back to the Gryffindor common room to redo his project.