Luna Lovegood wrinkled her nose. "What is that smell?" she asked. She and Neville Longbottom were wandering though Greenhouse Three before going into Hogsmeade for lunch on Valentine's Day. Neville wanted to check on his Mimbulus mimbletonia project before they left the castle.
"The venomous tentacula just belched. Professor Sprout fed it this morning," Neville said with a smile. "Don't go near it. It's probably still hungry and those tentacles will grab at anything."
"I suppose you're right. Where is it?"
"Over there." Neville pointed to a towering plant set out by itself in one corner of the room.
Luna nodded and walked toward it. "What's it eat?"
"Luna! Are you listening to me? Don't go over there! It'll eat you!"
"Oh, sorry. I just wanted a better look, that's all. A tentacula is supposed to be teaming with Dinglefairies. I thought I might see some. What's wrong with that?"
Neville sighed. "I suppose nothing. Just stay out of its reach," he said glancing at his watch. "Come on, Luna. We still have to get to Greenhouse Six."
"All right, I'm coming." Luna sounded annoyed as she caught up to Neville who was now half-way through Greenhouse Four.
The two entered Greenhouse Six and Neville guided Luna over to his project. He picked up a rather large and ugly cactus-like plant. It began to hum and bend towards his hand as he began to stroke it.
"I remember that," Luna said her protuberant eyes enlarging in recognition. "You covered Harry with green stuff it squirted on the train last year. He wasn't very pleased when Cho saw him."
"I suppose not. But Ginny got rid of the sap, so no harm done."
"Actually, Harry was mortified that Cho saw him covered in goop."
"As I recall, he got over it," Neville told her as he put his mimbletonia back and removed a tiny specimen covered in small white flowers. "Luna, I wanted to show this to you."
Luna peered over his shoulder at the plant. "Neville, it's beautiful. Is this the new strain you've been telling me about?"
"Yes," he beamed. "I named it after you: it's the Mimbulus luna. I was down here the other night and it was glowing in the moonlight. The way it glowed reminded me of you."
"That's nice," Luna said dreamily. "How long have you known about this strain?"
"Two weeks, three days, four hours, and nineteen and one-half minutes. Professor Sprout's spell told me the plant would survive on twenty-nine January at seven-forty one," he told her proudly. He replaced the luna. "I'll be just a few more minutes, Luna. "
"Take your time," she told him and began wandering back toward Greenhouse Three.
The tentacula swung its leafy head toward her as she entered the greenhouse and belched loudly. Luna held her nose.
"You're rather rude," Luna told it edging closer. The plant seemed to smile.
Luna knew the Dinglefairies built their colonies inside the plant. If she could get close enough, she might see the entrance hole they had chewed. She knelt down and began examining the stem.
Suddenly, she felt something stroke her hair. She giggled. Moments later, she felt the stroking again, this time around her neck and ears.
"Stop that!" Luna laughed. "It tickles!" She brushed a hand in the direction of the tickling, all the while moving closer to the tentacula.
Then, she spotted it; a small hole on the right side of the stem. Excited, Luna reached up to pull her wand from behind her ear. She had to see if the Dinglefairies built tiny villages like the Quibbler article had stated. Maybe if she could get her lit wand inside she could confirm the existence of this fairy. Her hand met only air and something wet in her hair.
"Neville, that's so sticky!" she exclaimed. There was a plop and something oozed inside the back of her robes. Luna looked up; the tentacula leered down at her, its mouth of pink teeth drooling blobs of orange fluid, and snaked a long tentacle around her waist.
"HELP!" Luna screamed grabbing at the plant and reaching for her wand which the tentacula was dangling just out of reach. The more she struggled, the tighter the tentacle became. As Neville thundered into Greenhouse Four, Luna's feet left the floor.
"Luna, what's wrong?" he panted, then muttered, "Merlin's beard!" upon seeing Luna dangling from the tentacula. He pulled out his wand and leveled it at the plant.
"Stop struggling, Luna," he ordered. "I'm going to try to Stun it."
"Hurry, Neville," Luna squealed and stopped trying to free herself. "I can't breathe."
"Stupefy!" Neville shouted aiming his wand at the plant's mouth. The spell hit one of the teeth and bounced upward, shattering a pane of glass in the ceiling.
Luna screamed and began thrashing again. One of her feet grazed the tentacula's main stem and the plant began to giggle.
"Make it laugh, Neville!" she called urgently.
Neville tried to remember the tickling charm. He recalled the word and yelled, "Rictusempra!" The spell missed the plant. Neville tried again, this time hitting the stem just under one of the tentacles. Nothing happened. Then, the tentacula began to laugh; at first, just a giggle which grew until the entire plant was shaking with mirth. Neville stared, then remembered Luna needed rescuing. He sprinted to a cabinet and pulled out a spray bottle marked "Tentacula Repellant" which he took back to where Luna was now trying to tickle her captor.
Thinking quickly, Neville aimed his wand at the base of the second tentacle. Another "Rictusempra" renewed the tentacula's laughter. It dropped Luna's wand and began to guffaw. Neville aimed the spray nozzle over Luna's head and pulled the trigger.
"Neville, what are you doing?" Luna whined as the repellant began to soak her robes. "There are Dinglefairies inside this plant. Don't kill them, please!" As she whined, the tentacle loosened its grip. Neville noticed and stopped spraying.
"Whatever Dinglefairies are, this won't harm them," he informed her. "This stuff puts the tentacula to sleep. Watch out, it's about to drop you." He could see Luna still wanted to protest. She didn't have the chance. The tentacula let go of her and, with one last chortle, was still.
Luna dropped to the floor. Before Neville could pocket his wand she had scrambled over to the pot and was poking her lit wand at the base of the plant. "There is a colony in here!" she exclaimed happily. "I told Father the readers were wrong to challenge the Dinglefairies' existence."
"Luna, please stop looking for the Dinglefairies," Neville pleaded. "We've got to get this cleaned up before Professor Sprout sees this mess. Then we need to get you to the hospital wing. You need to drink an antidote as soon as possible or you'll end up as sleepy as the tentacula!"
"If you insist," Luna grumbled standing up. She pointed her wand at the glass and muttered "Raparo." The shards reassembled themselves and slid back into place while Neville jotted a quick note to Professor Sprout.
"Ready?" he inquired reaching for Luna's hand. He didn't want her to get into any more trouble. She followed him docilely out of the greenhouse.
They were almost to the hospital wing when Luna began to complain. "Neville, you're going too fast. I can't keep up." She stopped, sagging against the wall.
"Hang on for just a while longer, Luna. We're almost there," Neville said urgently.
She yawned again. "I'm so sleepy."
Alarmed, Neville scooped Luna up and sprinted down the corridor. The doors to the hospital opened, Madam Pomfrey directed them to one of the beds. She held a goblet of steaming potion which she placed on the bedside table.
"Is she still conscious?"
"I'll take over from here. Thank you for getting her here so quickly. Please wait outside."
Neville departed, glancing anxiously over his shoulder at Luna.
An hour later, Neville poked his head around the curtains around Luna's bed. She was fully awake and beckoned him to the chair beside her.
"Thank you, Neville, for rescuing me," she told him, holding out her hand.
"You're welcome, Luna. I'm just sorry this has turned out to be such a rotten Valentine's Day. We missed lunch," Neville told her.
Luna tugged gently at his hand, pulling him toward her. "Don't say that," she chided. "You made this a special day anyway. How many girls had a boy defend them against a hungry plant today? I think I'm the only one."
Neville felt his ears growing warm. "It wasn't very romantic."
"On the contrary, it was quite romantic; especially the part about you naming the Mimbulus luna after me. And I think I saw a couple of Dinglefairies embracing, too."
"So they really do exist? What were they doing?"
Luna smiled. "Let me show you," she said and she drew Neville into her arms and kissed him on the lips.